Wednesday, November 20, 2013

A call to an authentic life

The natural world, like art, is a sacred space, a place where connections are made, epiphanies emerge, and sparks ignite.  Who among us finds inspiration in a lecture hall while seated in a rigid chair?  They are out there, but I can't count myself among them.  

What are we to do with new ideas and inspirations?  How does change, that elusive yet inevitable thing, rise up in us and cause us to alter behaviors, lifelong patterns, long-embraced beliefs?

A long-time friend invited me to a screening of the documentary Trans which I attended last night at a community center on Seattle's Capitol Hill.  Get your hands on it; share it with others.  As I drove to meet up with friends to carpool to the event, I pondered many things: the power of art to provoke, the safe space I live my life in, and too, how it might be to reunite with my friend, Mac, formerly Sherry, after nearly 8 years.  

Over soup and cornbread at the kitchen table beforehand, Josh and I shared what was on our hearts.  He mentioned a friend who is in jail and what he might be able to do to support him at this critical time. We explored roles, responsibilities, commitments, loyalty.  Then I said I wondered what it was going to be like to meet Mac for the first time, having known him since 2000 as a woman.  To Josh, it was a simple thing, really.  He said I was seeing Mac for the first time, but not meeting him.  I already knew the person, their character, what makes them them.  And he was right.

Some learnings that I'm holding up for a closer look-see: sacred space is any place; the key is to open your heart.  Identity is a highly personal matter.  How we self identify and what we do to live out that understanding are separate issues.  And what we do to foster compassion toward ourselves and others matters. 

 I'm going to start by tipping my cup and letting go of old notions.  What stays, what goes; I can intellectualize it, sure, but I choose to let it be what it is; to see what is left in that cup and go from there.  And tonight I will gather in community at Ravenna United Methodist Church for a service commemorating TDOR and bear witness to hundreds of lives I did not know, cut short by fear and hate-driven violence.  

What matters is this: we can effect change through witness, outreach, and action; it's our individual and collective work; it's what we are called to do.


  1. Wonderful thoughts. I know many who are still afraid to be their selves. I know the price of being ahead of my times. I am so glad to be around so many who value friendship above judging, and what others might be thinking. For those who can go against what we were taught as Christians, which was so uncharitable, so unfair, and crushing. Love is freedom love for all is fulfilling.

  2. Thanks Jen. I'll try to get hold of it. What you're talking about is what I love most about teaching -- having most of my closely held notions challenged in an open, respectful environment. Hope you have a chance to read my ARD blog today, called "Give Thanks Any Day." xoxo