What is a pell? According to Your Dictionary here are some of the meanings?
- A fur or hide.
- A lined cloak or its lining.
- A roll of parchment; a record kept on parchment.
- (Sussex) A body of water somewhere between a pondand a lake in size.
(third-person singular simple present pells, present participle pelling, simple past and past participle pelled)
From Latin pellis (“animal skin, pelt”), from Ancient Greek πέλμα (pélma, “sole of the foot”).
For sometime now the word pell holds another meaning in Australia and in the Vatican. It has been synonymous with power, persuasion and influence. It is now taking on deeper and darker overtones, but the solid foundations of privilege continue to drive the narrative between an institution, an office and a man. For those of us who have been up close and personal to those foundations, this week has brought its own pain and grief, more layers to heal and peel away, definitely knocked about and feeling trodden on. I am a long way removed from the horrors of a victim, but as a first responder and listener to historic events, as part of the church family, and as it has been revealed more recently, as someone who didn’t see what was going on in plain sight – this has been a very tough week.
What holds our beliefs in place to only see or hear what we want to see or hear, and not even realise there is other data coming in? This brain teaser question has been held by me for some time now and takes on a bigger frame in this current context. We trust and trust again, each experience building on what we know, making those neuronal pathways stronger and when something doesn’t quite add up, we dismiss it, ignoring our own intuition and placing our faith in the quality of the relationship. Studies show the relationship between trust, well-being and social connectivity are intertwined and feed off each other. The power of the tribe and trust held collectively is a very powerful phenomena and hard to shift. For those outliers who don’t trust, or call out the anomalies they see around them, often get ostracized, excluded or leave the places and spaces that hold that trust in place – often gravitating to others – finding other ‘misfits’ who in fact maybe just the ones who have been able to see what others, more trusting were unable to see.
Trust is sacred and when it is betrayed literally all those well worn neuronal pathways are shaken up. What was familiar is now questioned, actions that appeared to be in good faith are revisited and a conspiratorial lens is put over them, things that seemed out of place, or just a feeling of not being quite right are tested again in the new knowledge. The cloak of invisibility is lifted and the threads of the stories don’t quite hang together like they used to. Perhaps the person who has betrayed still holds on to their story, backing themselves above all others and the systems designed to uncover breaches of trust, measures of truth. It is in those moments the tapestry of trust that has been the bedrock on which relationships and systems have been held in place is literally an experience of having the rug pulled out. People topple, neuronal pathways get scrambled, falls happen, accidents and friendly fire arrive uninvited. Martin Luther reminded us that ” each act of betrayal begins in trust”.
The ripples from the pell of pain reverberating around our country with their origins in country Victorian town of Ballarat, go all the way to Rome. Along the way some of us are captured in the ripples and like the boom of the sound barrier being broken – a shock wave in the very real sense.
The real and vicarious trauma of the continuous media about what is going on is exhausting. How we reach out to one another and care for our selves in this time is vital. It is a time when rebuilding of trust may not even be possible, so the little acts of kindness towards yourself and seeing the greater humanity around us and the beauty in nature will always serve to inoculate and heal. I took myself off to see the Green Book yesterday, that was a good decision. I read some of the transcripts and interviews, of accused and those giving evidence, that was not a good decision. There is something though in coming to terms with truth and how trusting yourself again is connected into that re-wiring process. I am beginning to understand why facing facts is linked to the concept of the truth setting you free.
I am pondering on what might you be free from, if you know the truth? Sparks. Will. Fly.