A Smattering Is a Big Measure

I grew up in a culturally diverse neighborhood, and probably not all that surprising, my family is quite diverse as well.  We are multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religious, multi-generational, multi-political, feminists, gay and lesbian… you name it, we’ve multi’d it!  We share a common public service theme, i.e., teachers, healthcare workers, therapists, social workers, cops, and firefighters.  We love our music — all types, and I can’t think of one of us that won’t cut a rug when a tune plays whether anyone else thinks we look good doing it or not.  Essentially, we have a smattering of just about every socioeconomic group you might think of… just about.  I think that makes us special, and I know it is a blessing.

Today, however, I’m not wanting to talk about how special we are or why.  To be straightforward, we buried my mother-in-law yesterday, and I’m feeling drawn inward by the whole experience. Today I want to express why being special in this way and having this blessing is really two other things: an opportunity and an obligation.  Depending on the day, I may feel stronger about one or the other, but my mind will never change about the importance of either.  People don’t often like the word “obligation,” and I’ll bet a lot of people tuned out when they read that one.  It’s not a bad word — just something to live into, not always up to.  This is the case with a family like mine.  This is where people are missing the boat, so to speak.  My family is special, but we are not unique, and we are becoming less and less unique as time flies by.  That’s why this feels so important to me. My own family’s demographics are much like the rest of our country’s, just on a smaller, easier to view scale — a microcosm.

The opportunity in a family like ours is a rich one, not unlike our total human family. But the opportunity doesn’t exist at all if we refuse to listen to each other. This is true of the human existence overall — no different than my own special family.  If we refuse (I won’t use the word “can’t” here, because it really is a refusal.) to validate each other’s individual life experiences we are truly doomed.  Our family is doomed.  This country is doomed, and you can follow the trail from there.  Because we don’t look the same; because we don’t worship the same; because we have lived in different parts of the country; all these things have given us different experiences — ones that we don’t all share. For some reason those of us who don’t share them feel that those experiences somehow don’t exist or lack validity.  We pick and choose simple arguments to prove our points, rather than just simply listening to our loved one’s experiences.  Isn’t that crazy? I personally find it near insane and completely unloving that we’d rather pick a random article, written by a random unknown person to prove our preconceived notion than to lend our loved ones our ear, much less grant them some validation, or better yet, give them some credence and climb on board.

I posted this the other day after watching some family and some friends do and say some very destructive things, and also out of worry for another whom I think could be selling herself short:

Don’t limit yourself by listening only to those who you know are already in agreement with you, and be mindful of surrounding yourself with limited thinkers.  Growth and learning don’t happen in the dark.  Open your heart and soul to the light of others.

Then in response:

I used to think it was common sense, but not anymore.  I really think it’s a learned skill, and a heart condition that is WILLING to hear another’s experience and validate it, even in the possibility of learning that we might need to admit we need to change our own thinking.  Most people just can’t align with this.  We’d rather stand in our rightness and righteousness than to admit we might be wrong or not understand something fully.  It’s sad.

I realize there is a lot of obligation wrapped up in this post, but I hope that the readers can recognize how much opportunity there is as well, and that they actually go hand-in-hand. There is ALWAYS obligation if you want opportunity.  However, often when we associate obligation with family and close friends it may feel like opening the door to be trampled upon, or like extra work.  That is not at all what I’m suggesting, nor am I suggesting that you do the trampling.  But if you can’t own up to the obligation of who you are in your family, and even bigger, the world, you absolutely will miss out on the opportunity to love and be loved for who you are as well.  You absolutely will miss out on blessings that will undoubtedly enrich your life.  If you can see the differences only as something to immediately dismiss and/or disagree with, you are ultimately selling yourself short, though you may at first be selling the other short.  You will be the one who loses out in the end.  At any time and any place in life when you deny someone their right to just “be” in their existence, to allow them the space to have an expression of how life occurs for them, you are also shutting the door on yourself.  Imagine that it would be like an opportunity to step through a door that takes you on a trip through a place you’ve never seen, but choosing to just shut the door instead.

It’s real comfortable to go through life only with people that already agree with you.  It’s easy to read only things that you already know, or things that sound like what you already say.  It’s even easier to spread posts and articles without drilling down and researching what is being put out there simply because we like what it says.  How does this enrich your life?  Where is the learning?  Where is the discovery?  Where is the growth in this kind of behavior and thinking?  This is actually inaction at its finest, and it’s also sadly the stuff that is not worth hurting people we care about over, yet it happens daily.  We are quick to be indifferent to or minimize someone’s experience when it is something we don’t know, and adamant about standing in our own opinion even in the face of losing someone, even in the face of limiting our own experiences.  We humans will do all this, risk all this, avoid all this —  because we would rather be right than to just listen.

We could change the world, but we refuse to even change our minds.  A smattering is more than you think.  We can only change the world one mind at a time, but we forget we must start with our own.  Give yourself the opportunity of living into something more than what you already know.

A Smattering of My Beloveds

The Sole Problem of the Soul Problem Is a Heart Condition

I am angry today.  Actually, I am pissed!  Admittedly, it is not just today, though.  It has been many days for much of my life about the same issue.  But lately, and especially this week, I am angry to my core.  It is sad to say that it speaks of my very essence in this moment.  I know this, am clear about it, and am working on it.  I am told I am a green chakra, the heart chakra. Perhaps this is why I feel so deeply about what has been going on with race relations in this country.  I am sure it is why I feel deeply .

I agree that guns are not THE problem. Bottom line is that an absence of love is the “soul” root of it. However, guns and gun attitudes are a contributor to the problem. How to solve this, the conundrum. On a related note, I do think if you have actual amorous feelings for your lethal weapon of choice, and/or you think it is actually an ANSWER to what is going on, then there is something wrong in your head. If you read that last statement to mean that I am against guns for self-protection, I suggest you get out of the head I was speaking of and re-read it. Do not bother arguing with me on this because I am not wrong, and there is no way to prove otherwise, so do not send me your manipulated stats or stories to prove something to me. The only thing that will prove is that you are still missing the point.

Oh, and by the way, just because someone chooses not to own a gun does not make them a “pussy,” as a few of you have so eloquently put it! If a person is not comfortable with a lethal weapon, then they should not have one. Shut the hell up with that, seriously. Guns are NOT for everyone… as evidenced by every other day on the news! Here is another thing on that note to shut the hell up about:  it being a liberal agenda.

If you are sick and tired of me being on my soapbox about the gun issue, or about the way people of color are seen and treated, whether friend or family, say goodbye to me now, because I will not sit down and be quiet.

If red-headed, freckled, or blonde and blue-eyed, or people that look like me (white, brunette with brown eyes) were being marginalized — or worse  — were being TARGETED for slaughter (YES, SLAUGHTER!), would you still be sitting quietly? Would you still be rolling your eyes at me if these people being assassinated, murdered, looked like your very own children???  This is the world I have had to bring my children up in, and that my children will have to bring their children up in. I had hoped for so much more! And if you still cannot seem to align your conscience with this, consider that it is the same world you are bringing your white children up in. Hello!  The huge difference is that some of these people have targets on them. Would you feel differently then?  What if it was YOUR sweet little seven year old blonde daughter… your 87 year old grandfather… your favorite red-headed Irish pastor… your young up-and-coming cousin…  the single mom next door…?  See?  THAT difference of reaction is an ABSENCE of love at its core! And I CANNOT tolerate it and neither should you! I’m so SICK of the apathy.  As I stated in a previous post:

Your disinterest in what I have to say, your scoffing at my personhood and my knowledge and feelings, your racial brush-off to me translates that you think that somehow my children are less important to me than your children are to you.  

And I will add to that to be even more clear:   Not only is there a disconnect in that some do not comprehend in real-time how important my children are to me, but the really scary part is that my children’s value is MADE less because they do not look like them, because they are black.  Their lives are not as valued.  (And, yes, literally my children are biracial. No need to attempt to make a point with that here.  Truth is, when my children walk out my door, the world sees a black person.  And even if they were able to see a biracial or multiracial person, they would still marginalize them because of it. Because… not white.

My oldest (“Sweet”) shortly before he got promoted to big brother in 1989.  Then, I had hopef thst the world would be a kinder, more fair place for him.  Still hoping.


The very same people who were up in arms over Sandy Hook or the Colorado movie theater slaughter (rightfully so) are now silent about the Charleston 9 terrorist attack, and it is noticeable. So I do not think it is only the terrorists in these incidents whose heads need to be examined. Further, it is not just a problem in the head, it is a heart condition, a sick soul condition in mankind. I cannot say “in humanity ” because sometimes I feel I can barely sense its existence.

So if you now find yourself annoyed with me over this, I label you as having also a listening problem and incapable of examining yourself and how your very own attitude actually plays a role in this soul sickness.  Another label.  No one likes them.

Yeah, I am BEYOND angry. Fed up. In fact, for once, I cannot even find that single adjective to describe my feelings. What I recognize is I am struggling with anger and do not like it, and that I will no longer participate with others in stifling myself.

I have some work to do.  I hope you recognize what there is for you to do.