To repair is to make good again. This can mean we make reparations, restitution or amends to those we’ve hurt. As a community it can mean that we reach out to a person or a group that has suffered or that is broken.
But the first step is often the most difficult. We are often unsure of what to do, and how to help. So we hold back. We sit in our canoe, hoping for a sea change, waiting for the wind to blow us toward the place of amends or reconciliation.
We linger, thinking we have all of the time in the world and that, when the time is right, something will happen.
We may feel overwhelmed, that there is too much to be done, there is too much suffering and injustice in the world for our little act to make a difference.
But we have, as Helen Keller noted, a responsibility: not to help all, but to help one, not to do everything, but to do something.
To think that we are an island is an illusion. We are already one, but imagine we are not, is how Thomas Merton phrased it.
In our lives and in our communities and especially with those deeply in need, we must not wait. We must take the first step, we must move the boat. We do this not only to help those in need, but for ourselves. Because we are our community and what helps one, helps all, and what hurts one, hurts all.
In this act of reparation, we too are made new. We are no longer stuck waiting, looking for a sign, but instead moving. Moving toward hope, moving toward a better tomorrow. The time to help is always now.