Community Building

Reaching Over the Anger: Building on a Common Desire

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Questions:  Adelaide, Australia

As a blogger, I have gone through many phases. A recent one was defined by anger at the various and unfortunately numerous forms of injustice that exist. Long-time readers have commented on it before, and it has led to many an interesting, if not heated, discussion.

While anger might light a fire in someone’s heart and inspire them to divest themselves of the apathy society encourages in us to get up and act, it also deprives us of such things as patience, wisdom, and tact. Quite unfortunately (and kind of ironically), these are the very sentiments we need to discuss how to deal with important issues. Action inspired by anger, therefore, can only do so much.

I have been reflecting a lot recently about the nature of the contribution of a blog such as mine to the processes of community-building happening in so many neighborhoods and villages around the world, especially since the House of Baha’u’llah in Baghdad, a Holy Place precious to the millions of Baha’is in the world, and a beautiful historic Building precious to Iraqis, was razed to the ground earlier this year. Such an act could inspire anger, and no one would be faulted for feeling that way.

But what good would it have served?

When I received the news about the House in Baghdad, I couldn’t help but think about the Baha’i Holy Place in Montreal: what would I do if it was razed? While I would definitely feel angry, I know that screaming and shouting about it would not help. To be able to effectively resort to the means available to me, such as calling someone in City Hall to file a grievance, would require calm composure, something anger does not contribute to.

How does this sentiment translate in such situations as this letter from Mrs. Hall? I must say that the first time I read it, I was angry at a letter that deemed itself contributing to the betterment of society in such a judgmental way that contributed to the very problem it was meant to counter. Then I read it again, and again. And I realised that poor Mrs. Hall does not deserve my anger. She seems to have a kind heart, and is concerned for the well-being of her sons. How can I hold that against her?

As my anger dissipated, I was surprised to find in its place, something much more powerful: an indomitable determination to build on something great, to make it even better. In this case, to understand how Mrs. Hall’s letter is good, and then engage her (and all those who loved the letter unconditionally) in a conversation that will help iron out certain parts of her letter that are contradictory.

Because ultimately, we are all imperfect, and our contributions to the betterment of society, however well inspired, are imperfect. Instead of attacking each other out of anger, perhaps it is time to build on our common desire to contribute to the betterment of society by consulting on how to refine our contributions.

Image credit: Chad Mauger

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