The 4th element in our healing process is community. This means regaining a sense of belonging and connection. We begin by allowing ourselves to accept compassion and support from others. But community also means that we give back and contribute to building safer and more compassionate communities. Your community could be your neighborhood, workplace or school, friendship group, or The Hyacinth Fellowship. When we invest in strengthening communities and serving others, we transcend our trauma and transform pain to purpose.
We can never make up for taking a life, but we can honor the memory of our victims in the choices we make moving forward. We have learned the hard way that life is precious and fragile. Now it’s our turn to respect these lessons by taking action to make the world a better place. And in living with virtue, humility, and compassion, we find our peace with ourselves and others.
We respect the memory of our victims when we live with compassion and integrity. We can also choose to take specific actions in their honor. Here are just a few examples — Let your imagination and your values guide you.
It is easy to confuse growth with self-sacrifice. Selfless giving can be a constructive response to causing an accident, but it can also be a way of punishing oneself. It is important to know the difference. The goal here is not to suppress the expression of our feelings, values, and dreams. Instead, we look for ways to channel them in a positive direction, as an authentic and fulfilling expression of ourselves.
After unintentionally killing or injuring someone, many of us tend to withdraw. There are good reasons for this; we need time alone to grieve. Healing is incomplete, however, until we regain a sense of belonging and community. What gets in the way of our ability to connect? Some common obstacles are shame, secrecy, fear, and holding on to the belief that punishment and misery is all we deserve. If you feel stuck and unable to connect with yourself or others, talk with a therapist or pastor.
As our journey to peace advances, we may find that we have become more empathic and less judgmental. We might deepen our commitments to service, creativity, spirituality or religion, advocacy, or parenting. In accepting support from our communities and giving back, we can acknowledge our own growth. We will forever carry the pain of causing unintentional death or injury, but we can look back on our journey with appreciation for all we have overcome, learned, and achieved.