The Summer of the Rising Tides, Day 14: By Definition

2

June 14,2020-

Today is Flag Day, when Americans pay respect to our national symbol of unity. It is Race Unity Day, when we, around the world, can honour and commit to following the practical aspects of achieving unity. It is, finally, the birthday of U.S.President Donald Trump. I give him that, and hope he has had a peaceful day of reflection and family time.

Having had a meaningful devotional and discussion, earlier this morning, on the Oneness of Mankind, and having watched a lovely two-hour presentation on Race Unity, I wish to consider how we might determine: What defines a person?

Does colour of skin define? It has certainly brought into being a unique culture, in a good many cases, over time. Is that not, however, largely because of segregation, as well the particulars of the place where people have found themselves? There are, however, people of every skin tone who do not adhere to the popular perception of the characteristics of their “racial ” group. Are they less than those who do fit that perception?

Does one’s sex define? There has been a dichotomy of roles, since the human race’s hunter-gatherer cultures. Men hunted,and women tended the home. There have, throughout history, been women who hunted and men who tended the hearth. Are either of these less than those who fit the mould?

Does one’s job define him/her? What about refinement/coarseness of speech? Is where someone lives a determinant? How about his/her philosophy of life/voting record? Is the chosen Faith, or lack thereof, a factor? Is openness, or secrecy, a defining moment?

The truth is, it is all of these, taken together, and none of them, taken alone or in a piecemeal group. Skin tone, in and of itself, means nothing. Every shade of melanin is beautiful. Cultural background is a baseline for expressing personality, in a good many cases. For others, it is a baseline of struggle for self-acceptance. Sex, and its legal offshoot, gender, are not a defining factor, in terms of what a person is capable of achieving. One’s job determines several things-financial status, time spent working/at leisure, and sometimes,neighbourhood. Philosophy and political stance may affect how one sees the roles of government and social institutions in personal and community life.

There are plenty of White progressives and conservative People of Colour. There are open-minded people, in every point on the political spectrum and there are, similarly, dogmatic people alongside them. There are loving souls in every religion and creed, and there are their doctrinaire fellows in faith. There are both loving and hard-nosed men and women, alike.

What defines me, is my totality-and that is always subject to change. What defines you, is likewise. None of us can control the other. It is the illusion of control that has allowed stereotyping, fear and the sense of “other” to take such deep root and to wreak such havoc.

A blessed Race Unity Day and Flag Day to all.

I

I Know…

13

May 9, 2018, Prescott-

I know that I made the best decision of my life,

when I married her

and stayed faithful.

I know that I could have done better,

dealing with the winsome faces,

especially once she left.

I know that

I never cheated.

I know that now,

as I blaze my own trail onward,

there are she and other spirits,

telling me  that it’s okay

to really love another.

I know that one will come to me,

as a dear sister told me,

a few days ago.

I know that time is

never rushed,

that people need

to figure it out,

for themselves.

I know that I am

essentially good,

that dwelling on flaws

is a chimera.

I know that life

could turn on

a dime,

and probably will.

I know that the

best job I’ve had,

since the mid-1990’s,

may last three more years,

or it may only last

two more weeks.

I know that

I will land on my feet.

I know that I am loved.

The Fast: Day 13- Radiant Acquiescence

14

March 14, 2018, Prescott-

We each put up with a certain amount of nonsense, on any given day.  Whether it is following a ridiculous instruction, from someone who is in charge of us (parent, teacher, boss, police officer, or random Joe who has connections); waiting in a line, whilst the person at the head finishes a casual conversation or adjusts the money in his wallet; instinctively speeding up a bit, when the driver behind comes rushing towards your car’s rear end, or toots the horn or pumps his fist/shouts/point to her watch.

These are accommodations and we can either continue to put up with them, get our backs up and “fight back” or get creative, as in the person who responds to an impatient person behind him, by slowing down to the posted speed limit. (Oh, the HORROR!”)

The Divine, however, may test us with these scenarios, or with far more serious woes (disease, bankruptcy, divorce, ostracism- catastrophes of a Jobian magnitude).  Job was a model of radiant acquiescence.  He could see the eventual end of all his troubles, as horrific as they were.

Those who’ve been here a while know that I have been through several such troubles.  They’ve been balanced, of course, with good fortune: A stormy, but loving, marriage; a fine young man for a son; a stable, and basically loving, extended family;  a checkered, but honestly driven, career; a small, but stable, financial base;  a wealth of experiences, both at various Home Bases and on the road/trail.

Radiant acquiescence means enduring the downs of life, whilst knowing the silver lining defines the cloud.

Yes and No

18

November 15, 2017, Prescott-

A fellow blogger posted, this afternoon, that no one is entitled to rights, by decree.  Yes, and no:  Yes, a child has the right to a healthy diet, a safe and warm place to live, a solid, fundamental education and above all, loving adults by whom to be raised.  No, one does not have the automatic right to a mate, a good paying job, a full refrigerator and pantry or a large contingent of friends.  Those are things one earns by dint of character and hard work.

I was raised to know that my parents were  there for me, that I had responsibilities that went with being part of a family, that boys and girls were equal in the sight of God, and that didn’t go away when we reached adulthood.  As much as my immature, flawed self disliked it, I had to wait, a long time, to meet the love of my life.  My mature, flawed self does not regret the wait.

Sometimes, the price of the good in our lives is paid up front- through suffering and seemingly innumerable setbacks  Other times, the good comes first, and, as with the Biblical Job, torments and sorrows follow.  I have learned, especially from my Native American ancestors, that hard times make one stronger and good times make one secure enough to withstand the next set of hard times.  After 600-800 years of collective difficulty, Native Americans are still here.  After 500 years of oppression and distrust, African-Americans are still here.  Woman, collectively, has endured millennia of being regarded as a subordinate being.  She is more present than ever.

Those who say each individual must earn certain rights and prerogatives are correct, to a point.  Let them also, however, consider what rights each man, woman and child has already earned, by dint of character, suffering and, yes, hard work.  To dismiss this, is to affirm the claim of the tyrant, the supremacist.