It is always interesting to reflect. As I caught up with old colleagues, our conversation drifted to days that have long faded for almost everyone. As the memories unfolded, the partial picture each of us had at the time became more and more detailed. I had no idea where the conversation would go. To my surprise, the two obvious destinations – identification of villains or cynicism did not emerge. Instead, a broader reflection emerged on the roles and parts each participant around the table played in the equation.
If I was to summarize the different perspectives represented at the table on the day it would be as follows.
Innocence. It was as if one participant was quoting an old writer; “Desperadoes have ganged up on me, they’re hiding in ambush for me. I did nothing to deserve this, God.” (Psalm 59.3) Whatever the facts and reflection might indicate, innocence was the overriding theme. There was nothing to be learned, more reflection pointless.
Ignorance. Another suggested that s/he had been naïve. There were assumptions and presumptions that in hindsight should have been questioned or at least examined. You could see the resolve to learn from the lessons on the day. I listened in admiration. Whatever mistakes were made, there was no visible need to inflict punishment on one’s self. Lessons were going to be embraced and put into action.
Well intentioned however there were areas that could have been done differently. This reflection was a variation on earlier ignorance. The actions of yesterday were the intentional outcome of drawing assessments and making judgments. In hindsight, the logic and framework that had been used for both was questioned. There were lessons to be learned and wisdom captured.
I found myself looking at different images in the mirror. There were parts of me in each reflection. Depending on how I choose to look at things, their voice could have easily have been mine. The conversation lingers, along with the question of learning and growing. As much as I hope, time will reveal what I have chosen to take with me.