After growing out of my childhood excitement for novelty & surprises as gifts, I never was one for holidays as consumerism or whitewashing a holistic reality.
Some part of me, fairly early on, sensed the untruths and the layers of reality being hidden under all the noise in our loud world.
I was anti-everything as a teenager. Many of us were. We didn’t buy the bullsh*t being sold.
In my high-school I was given the alternative to take Native American History in place of Washington State History.
I grew up around indigenous people here. I wasn’t removed from how devastated their spirits feel.
I felt the pain as my own, many times. I mean this in the most sincere way, as someone who has fallen in love with this land and reveres the deeply-breathing forests here as my 'church'.
I must’ve been the only non-native in that class… I don’t remember for sure. I do remember learning what I still feel as quite honest history of this land I call home.
It felt real.
Contrary to learning in one of my other history classes that America had called the Vietnam war a ‘draw’, and skirted around an honest answer - only to find out when I actually went to Vietnam hearing a vastly different story.
Pride does us no good when it’s prioritized over truth.
I’m blessed and honored to be at least somewhat aware of my own privilege.
And more blessed to have a drive beyond my own faltering will to continually yearn to be more aware (even when I don't 'want' to know the truth!!).
I’ve had tremendous freedom. I’ve traveled the world as my leisure and pleasure.
And not to discount my own hardships, or anyone’s who does have more privilege. Privilege is on a spectrum. Like most things in life.
I heard a line recently from a religious woman, and though I’m not religious, I am the same spirit as hers.
“You must make the best life possible with the ruins of your life.”
The ruins of whatever you’re born into. The ruins of a failed relationship. The ruins of lost youth. The ruins of lost time.
That is the responsibility of each and every one of us.
And that will look different for each and every one of us, depending on the ruins from which we’re building.
Only you can know for yourself what is true, deep down.
“Freedom is in danger of degenerating into mere arbitrariness unless it is lived in terms of responsibleness. That is why I recommend that the Statue of Liberty on the East Coast be supplemented by a Statue of Responsibility on the West Coast.” ~Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search For Meaning
I quote this probably every year at least once.
And every time, I believe this to be even more true.
Whatever sparks your soul, and makes you come alive… that is what the world needs. And that is what you need to take responsibility for in your own life. Don’t let that spark die in the ruins you leave behind once you leave this world.
And in all likelihood, if your ruins aren’t too overwhelming, that spark of aliveness that is particularly unique to you, will invariably transfer to some kind of authentic care for your community.
I am grateful today. I am grateful every day. To wake up. To be alive. To learn how to navigate this wild, dynamic and messy world with ever-growing grace.
To be human. To feel. To taste. To smell. To touch. To hear. To have a heart beat.
One day that will end.
I am grateful. I give thanks. I am reverent.
I love you.
I honor this place I call home is traditional land of the Salish people.
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