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.