I want to start by being very specific about who I am talking to; this post is meant for people who look like me, those of us with white skin.
Many of you woke up this morning and heard the news about Alton Sterling, the 37 year old man who was shot and killed by the police in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The sickening feeling in your stomach probably hit you hard as you watched the cell phone footage of a police officer charging and tackling Sterling to the ground. You knew what was coming next. And, within seconds you saw it: the police officer mounts Sterling like a UFC fighter. There is no confrontation. No struggle. Sterling is subdued and then another officer yells “Gun. Gun.” The officer on top of Sterling pulls his gun and within seconds fires multiple rounds killing Alton Sterling.
The height of vanity, isn’t it, to reblog myself?
I was revamping my blog, going through posts and cleaning them up, when I got to this one that I wrote SIX years ago. It wasn’t terrorists that fueled the mean then, it was the fear of a drop in property value, which, wow. But it points to a different truth-do we just look for a reason to not welcome those in dire straits, because we might-gasp-have to sacrifice something in order to do so? I stand, during this Syrian refugee debate, in the same spot as I did with Haitian refugees six year ago.
“The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?”
Boggled. That is my mind right now–befuddled and boggled.
I read the comments section (I know, the last thing ANYONE sane should do is read the comments) that follows an online article about Haitian refugees being flown into the states, both adults to come stay with family members already here, and children and babies here to be taken in and adopted by Americans.
I’m not going to add any power to those comments by quoting them. You know the drill: a bunch of powerless ignorants who think if they spew enough garbage, someone will finally validate their existence. Hate and bigotry are their drugs of choice. It blows my mind to read such drivel.
Basically, the sentiment is that we should NOT be taking in our human brothers and…
I’ve often wondered about what’s going on in the heads of people who want to shame women for doing 1) as Matt wrote, doing what God intended them to do, and 2) doing what the same people will shame women for if they DON’T do it. Breasts are not ‘nasty.’ No body part is shameful, nor are their (God-created, remember?) functions. Click the link below for a fantastic blog post.
I take care of a few feral kittens who live in my neighborhood. They are healthy and happy, with the exception of one baby I’ve named Phoenix.
Phoenix is a sweet and loving feral who needs a lot of medical attention. I am virtually fundless but cannot watch this girl suffer when she still has so much spirit and life in her. She has fleas, ear mites, roundworm, and a nasty skin infection, and that’s just what I can see.
I set up a “Chip In” page to raise funds to help her live the happy life she deserves. Once she’s well, I’ll work on finding her a home. She’s full of spunk, purrs, and talks up a storm. Somebody will be very lucky to have this little girl as a best friend!
Believe me, I understand broke. If you can’t donate a buck or two, you can still help- say a prayer for little “Pheenie.”
4/28: Phoenix update-There were enough donations to the ChipIn page that I was able to get enough help for Phoenix that she now looks like this:
6/22/13: Phoenix is healthy and beautiful, but quick and smart-I haven’t yet been able to catch her and get her spayed. She did have a small litter of two kittens (only two,thank goodness) on my front porch, and took very good care of them. I am determined to get her spayed and vaccinated this summer. Wish me luck!
11/29/15: Phoenix is neutered, vaccinated, happy, and healthy! We did this for about 15 neighborhood strays, and of that group, there are 5 left, and two new kitties have been visiting for breakfast, so I imagine we’ll take care of them too so that they won’t procreate.
“Be the buffalo. Wilma Mankiller, the first female principal chief of the Cherokee nation, once told me how the cow runs away from the storm while the buffalo charges directly toward it–and gets through it quicker. Whenever I’m confronted with a tough challenge, I do not prolong the torment. I become the buffalo.”
There are a number of people in my world right now who are going through some challenges: challenges in growth, change, health, emotional difficulties, and the like. While I’m no poster child for living wisely, this subject in particular is one upon which I can speak, and maybe it can offer a little guidance or encourage someone who’s on one precipice or another and is afraid. In a nutshell, the fear you feel will not go away until you face it head on.
The quote above from political commentator/campaign strategist Donna Brazile is something I read in Oprah magazine. Its organic truth struck such a chord of authenticity within me that I tore the page out of the magazine. It’s been sitting here next to my computer for many weeks now, while I wondered how I was going to use it. Today it hit me; sharing the example of the buffalo might help some of my friends who are struggling. If you are reading this and know someone who needs to read this and share this post, maybe someone you know can turn a challenging situation into an opportunity to grow, to live honestly, and be finally free of the prison that running from challenge can become.
It took me a long time to become a ‘buffalo gal.’ Before I began to live authentically (which means allowing myself to feel the unpleasantness that discord often bestows), I was not myself. I was afraid of conflict, so I held in feelings that should have been shared. I was afraid I had nowhere to go, so I stayed in a place where I was not safe. I was a broken spirit and spent many a year locked in my room with a beautiful cat (see a previous post), my books, and my stash of Virginia Slims Menthol. I literally lost much of my teenage years to nicotine and self-imposed solitude. Came out of the fortress to go to school and work. I married a man who helped me through some ‘interesting’ times while I was becoming me, supported me as I started counseling, and also let me know that I wasn’t crazy to have the feelings I had. The marriage didn’t last, but my gratitude for his understanding at the beginning of my healing process endures to this day. As well as for the child who resulted from our marriage (see another previous post). I was well into adulthood by the time I first charged into the storm (even though I’ve always loved thunderstorms).
Here’s what, in continuing with the Oprah theme, I know for sure:
“Life is life – whether in a cat, or dog or man. There is no difference there between a cat or a man. The idea of difference is a human conception for man’s own advantage.”
Shelters are filled to overflowing with sad and frightened animals. The suffering they experience in the bleakness of their cages, their grief at being separated from their humans, their babies, or their mothers, their confusion and fear just before their ‘euthanization–‘ all of those energies are released into the universe, enlarging the dark cloud that hovers over not just humanity but all beings. The pain we feel (or avoid by changing the channel and burying our heads) when that dog-gone (yes, intended) Sarah Mclachlan commercial comes on and makes us cry-that is an organic, authentic, primordial cosmic hint: we can do better for our planet-mates. We must do better.
I have come, through the magic of Facebook, to know a peaceful warrior by the name of DJ Chandler. I would only mangle her bio if I tried, but if you’re curious, no doubt you can find her online. I was inspired to share her with you because she is personally responsible for the diminishment of the toxic cloud of confusion due to her tireless efforts to find forever homes for shelter animals on Death Row. She organizes people to pull the animals from high-kill shelters, shows us how to contribute to their veterinary expenses, finds foster homes, and arranges animal transport from shelter to vet to foster to new home. She has also rescued and fostered countless dogs, cats, and horses herself.
Their physical injuries are mended. Their fears are (sometimes very slowly and painstakingly) allayed. Their sadness is loved away. The cloud dissipates just a little more as each cat starts to purr again, as each dog puts his head on his new human’s knee for the first time and looks up with trepidation and-wavering-trust.
Call me stubborn, but I refuse to quit! T.R.U.E. G.R.I.T. is the foundation to success in learning and life! Exploring the dynamics of a successful classroom and how grit is a vital characteristic for student achievement