It is the second day of this new year. I am sitting at the kitchen table on the second floor of residence at The Atlantic School of Theology. On Monday, the second term begins. As I have been sitting here for the past couple of hours, I have been thinking about justice and stillness. Thinking about what it means to sit very still, while thoughts and emotions find their way in and out and through the heart, the mind, the soul, the psyche. Tomorrow morning one of my dearest friends will be leaving the dorm. The blessing of new employment will take him away from those of us here who have become friends, community, family away from family. In Marian Partington's exquisite book, If You Sit Very Still, she inspired me to sit very still, echoing the words of her sister, Lucy. Lucy, shortly after her horrific death, visited Marian in a dream, and shared these words with her, "If you sit very still, you can hear the sun move." The sun is a sentinel of warmth, of hope, of fire, of fierceness. It is also a signifier of time's precious and persistent movement. And movement happens. Via changing of place, changing of ideas; of changes via death, birthing, holding on, relinquishing, movement happens. Sawbonna, sibling of Restorative Justice, is the simple and generous movement of seeing, of being seen, of hearing, of being heard. In many ways it is an act of saying good-bye to old ways to relating with life. It is an act of seeing differently, of hearing differently, and it is a way to surrender to trust. One good-bye that I do not dislike is the good-bye to tightly held notions of what justice tries to be. Good-bye, I declare, to justice defined by rush, by quick-fix, by limiting notions of us versus them. Sawbonna, sibling of Restorative Justice is an invitation to say, hello! And it is and invitation to sit very still; very still with our thoughts and emotions about what and how: respect, responsibility, relationship, and wonder mean. And they can and do mean, no matter the crime. We can learn to do the time, if we sit very still.
The Rick Howe Show, Halifax, NS: Restorative Justice & Dalhousie Dentistry (Starts at 23:44)