I stand at the entrance, tentative and unsure. I have never been here before, and I make no sudden moves. I do not know the terrain, and I barely know the language. The color of their history and the texture of their sorrow is foreign to me. I will step carefully, trying not to crush what is still whole, what works. I am here to sort through the wreckage, to retrieve the broken pieces and form them into a new and different landscape.
Everywhere I look, eyes are peering out at me. Hostile eyes, wounded eyes, eyes with the tiniest flicker of hope. Each pair silently reproaches with the same questions: “Will you tear down what we have worked so hard to gather? Will you be the help, or the final blow that destroys us?” I have no answer.
I will move hesitantly among the bodies. I will assess the fallout — clear and open wounds displayed with pride; secret, private wounds guarded with fearful care. The clutter must be cleared, the air cleansed so that I might view the remains, what needs tending. I must proceed with utmost delicacy so that I do no harm. I do not know if I can do this.
Reluctant and curious, they will let me in. For the moment, they still have a choice. I will see that some view me as better, and some think that I think that I am better. And some will sense the truth: that I am merely a broken representative from mankind, weighted with my own past and my own missteps.
A few will reject my words before they are even uttered. A few crave my words and pray that healing might be found somewhere in the message. They have done this before; I am not the first. Their lives bear scars from those who went before me. I will have to be so cautious.