Yesterday my time at Eastern Mennonite University ended – it was hard to leave such a vibrant campus that pulsed with heart enthusiasm and dedication for peacebuilding. Yet as our Circle Processes class concluded, there were no goodbyes – only promises to meet again. Cherished and honored, these 23 new friends and colleagues made my world a little more connected and broadened the reach of our work in restorative justice.
These heart strings extend to other people attending the Summer Peacebuilding Institute – those who shared their incredible, heart-wrenching stories of peacebuilding work in parts of the world that are suffering from the devastating consequences of conflicts, crises, and wars. Some of these courageous peacebuilders are assisting with trauma healing while others are working to find solutions to severe conflict situations that many times feel desperate and hopeless. Others simply live among people in communities and lend a caring hand of support. The peacebuilders I spoke with work in areas such as Jordan, Myanmar, Columbia, Cambodia, South Africa, and Northern Nigeria – their stories will stay with me forever.
These past 7 days provided an incredible and challenging experience of learning and growth in circle with Kay Pranis as our guide and sage. True to the restorative justice promise, that we can only be authentic practitioners when we embrace deep inner work while speaking our truth in community, I was not let down.