Parallel realities

I met with someone yesterday about immigrant rights work. So many people are afraid of deportation right now.  Some are looking for help setting up temporary protective custody for their children, others are making plans to leave the country because at least their families won’t be separated.  I know that I can’t really imagine what it is like to live with that level of fear, and yet I can see and hear and stand with them in their suffering.

After we had talked about some ideas, the person I met with shared some big news in her personal life, and said something that stood out to me.  “It’s like giving birth at a hospital instead of at home.  At the hospital, you could be giving birth, and in the next room someone is dying of a gunshot wound.  You have this amazing experience happening at the same time as tragedy.  I guess there is always someone dying of a gunshot wound.”

Even as I choose what I write about in this blog, or how I present Dr. Seuss to my class (I just learned about his racist cartoons from the early days), or what I post on Facebook, I am balancing my gaze and voice as a storyteller.  Some moments I land lightly, others I turn more fully toward the weight of our inequities. Joy, pain, peace, anguish.  My days are full of stories. Holding the contradictions and witnessing the suffering seems to bring even more awareness of the beauty of each moment and the preciousness of this life.

So today, I am grateful for my dog Joey’s warmth as he races to curl up next to me on the couch.  I am grateful for my partner’s silliness as she tells Joey that it’s her turn and takes his spot.  I am grateful for the throngs of crocuses and daffodils that rise up out of the earth despite the last tendrils of winter’s cold breath.

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6 thoughts on “Parallel realities

  1. So poignant and beautifully written! “At the hospital, you could be giving birth, and in the next room someone is dying of a gunshot wound.” – I have never thought of this experience in this context but now that I think of it, I feel like this is a metaphor for life. The bad balances out the good and vice versa. This piece really resounds with me. Thank you for sharing!

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  2. So true. Life is full of beauty juxtaposed with horror.Your post is a reminder to be grateful for the simple, wonderful, rich things we have – a good dog, the return of flowers in spring (or, almost-spring). As with Pandora’s box, we cannot lose hope, or all is lost. Thanks for this meditative moment.

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  3. Incredible piece of writing. Thank you for bringing this parallel reality concept into being this morning. My mother works with immigrants, helping them to earn their accreditation as early childhood educators. The people with whom she works want to make a difference, and she helps them do that. But lately, they are living in the dark side of the parallel reality you describe. They’re afraid. They’re worried for their families. And they look to my mother for comfort. I will share this post with her, as you leave us with the power of gratitude and how much that can matter in times like these. Thanks for sharing this!

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  4. A beautiful juxtaposition and description of the realities we choose to acknowledge, face, and tell. I like how your piece comes to such a conclusion in a metaphorical way.

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  5. And I suspect those crocus and daffodil shoots may soon get stepped on once more by winter’s cold boot… Sigh. Just another moment to reset my stance as you wisely advise: “I am balancing my gaze and voice as a storyteller.”

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  6. “Some moments I land lightly, others I turn more fully toward the weight of our inequities.” This line reminds me that we make a concious choice about how we look at the world and project our stories. My husband often says I’m too optimistic, I say he’s too pessimistic. The reality is that like isn’t all good, though, and finding that balance in our gaze and voice, as you’ve beautifully reminded me, is very important!

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