Living Life in Full Color
I have always been drawn to people, places, and information outside of my lived experiences, in spite of—or because of—growing up in a primarily white rural farming community, with little to no diversity beyond economic disparity or religious differences. My curiosity grew as I looked out into the world, far beyond the narrow boundaries of my physicality. My mind, body and soul craved more education through experience as I marveled in, more and more, any and all people and cultures beyond my decent, but admittedly bland, upbringing.
Where some proclaim to “see no color,” I have vocally witnessed and admired—and continue to witness and admire—skin in shades other than my own and the humans housed within. I’ve been fortunate enough to be enhanced, enriched and cultured in spaces within my community and all around the country—the bulk of my greatest life moments have been in places with people of diverse backgrounds and heritages. I have been blessed beyond measure this way—delighting in, and being delighted in, by humans cloaked in every fleshy variety of melanin.
I see the faces of my children and grandchildren on the faces of children around the world, and the faces of people I love deep within my soul—parents, friends, siblings, lovers, colleagues—on the faces of those around the world. I stand with those who are proclaiming their hurt, and I know and respect to my core that people are not wrong about their pain. Whether or not I am personally connected, I feel people are as much my people, as my intimately known people are—so when they hurt, I hurt. “Am I alone in this,” I wonder. “Do others truly not feel the searing pain in the air we all breathe?” Is it a lack of holistically developed world views? Is it religion and righteousness gone awry? Have minds atrophied over time instead of expanding into their under-discovered vastness? Much like scientists continue discovering more in our universe and beyond, are we not also uncovering more of ourselves, our thinking, our emotional and empathetic powers, our incredible depth?
I write positively about community, how we participate and contribute to it, and how we leave our mark on one another. I am a progressive with a readership of primarily conservatives—for whatever that’s worth—and we have been respectfully finding our way together for many years. I share stories that touch me to my soul, and you, my readers, respond from your cores, often thanking me for capturing and writing what is in your own hearts and souls. My entire lot of editor letters from 2019 recently won the Spokane Regional MarCom Association’s Spark Award of Excellence for a recurring column, and then they went on to win the Kindling Award, which is the highest scoring submission, from a first timer, across all divisions and categories, encompassing all media, marketing and communications. You may not know it, but you helped make that happen. I see your faces and I sense your spirits every month as I attempt to find some words that earn their way on the page; so even here, right now within these words, we are in it together. And I’m grateful for you.
We may be individuals, but we aren’t separated beings. Much like the trees, mountains, lakes, rivers, wildflowers, rocks, wildlife, and more, are nature, we are humanity—each vital to the health, livelihood, rise and success of the next. Whether you believe in God or science, or a mix of both, we are all meant to be here, and every single one of us is necessary to the whole. I have always been intrigued by stories revealing how a landscape shifts, even the shape of a river, when wolves are removed. If you are unfamiliar, do a quick google search for a life lesson on how indispensable every single factor is to a whole. Thankfully, we have different, important opinions, thoughts, ideas, and identities to contribute to one another, and we—you, me and everyone else in our community and in this country—no matter our color or culture or age or background or financial means or religion or gender orientation—are the collective, we are God’s people—the pain, victory, heartache and joy of each of us is encapsulated within us all, and all around us.
The only way forward from here is to honor one another, together. Which means we all listen and ride out this pain with one another, even when it makes us squirm, and resist, and search for reasons to let ourselves off the hook.
Not one of us can be off the hook when it comes to social equity and racial justice. We are all responsible for allowing sexism, homophobia and ageism, too. The only way to break through to a clearing, where there is more peace than duress, is. for. progress. to. occur. Progress—forward or onward movement. Movement is life. And if you aren’t moving, you aren’t fully living … and if you aren’t living, so the saying goes, you are dying.
We don’t have to understand or even fully comprehend the deeply rooted historic processes that have oppressed our Black communities for 400 years in order to extend some respect and begin caring about how we move forward from here, and how we leave our mark on the movement. We just have to be open to hearing and believing information and experiences that aren’t our own … as the truth of those who share it. I’m still eagerly and gratefully learning, and I hope you have it in your heart to do so, too.
For resources on becoming enlightened, empowered, allied justice seekers, turn to page 17. Please find me on Facebook and Instagram—and hop over to “like” the Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living pages—to stay connected between press dates, and share your thoughts, stories, and life in real time.
To a new day for us all,
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