Week 2, Day 4 – Differences Between Us

The assignments for today were:

  1. Write on what the authority figures in your life had to say about making lots of money, about spirituality and religion, about taking it easy between tasks. Write on whatever makes you feel different from the group and determine e how that affects the way you feel about yourself. You may not believe in those values even if you have deeply internalized them. Make yourself current by writing. It’s important to know what you now value and what that does to your self image if judged by the new valuing.
  2. Use streaming to write how you deal with people who have values different from yours. Give the details. Reveal a secret. How can you move towards the unknown?
  3. Choose an image that repels you and write about it. How can this be related to your shadow life? Your spirit life? How does this tie into accepting differences in yourself and others? Use the technique of gazing into the waters and then do streaming.

Lol – ok, so this is why my BFF and I are BFF’s – actually she is more of my sister and spiritual partner then anything else. I still remember the day, and if she reads this she will know this is about us, but I remember the day we were sitting on this bench in the halls of the seminary and she told me I got on her nerves. Nine years later, I still get on her nerves, but in a good way. And the truth is sometimes she still gets on mine, but in a good wayJ. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. What got on her nerves --  hmm, let’s see it was part my being a feminist, my talking about women’s studies, my being out about being a lesbian and my being out about being biracial. Did I always have to be so out there and open about everything? Yeah, girl, yet here we are nine years later and who would have ever thought we would be as tight as we are today. We are so freakin different.  Yet at the same time, we are so alike. We feed each other, yeah, I send you care packages and will be for the next year because you were craving chocolate chip cookies and we now know that is a part of my ministry. But we have worked at being as close as we are and the greatest gift we have given each other over these years is a more inclusive understanding of God, the Creator, the Infinite Presence. Even though at times we call on our Higher Power in different ways, we are both talking about the same power with whom we both have an intimate relationship. I think what brought us together is that we have both always felt like rounds pegs in a square hole. You because of your parents and me because of mine. You because your parents were never “legally” married and mine because I have had three different sets – my birth, foster and adoptive parents. You because you have always seen yourself as Hagar’s daughter and me because I am that biracial lesbian with a disability. Yet I think it is this quality about both of us that has helped us to become so close and to understand that we are a bridge to ourselves and to others. I think we both came to understand as Jorge Rieger talked about in God and the Excluded that the wider we open our hearts to the diversity of humanity, the more we understand how God shows up, out, through, and in the lives of all hir creations.

And I know that sometimes we both get like Donna Rushkin wrote about in her poem, The Bridge” tired of being the one who is keeping the different groups working on connecting with each other.  So we have to remember that before we can be the bridge between groups we have to make sure the bridge to ourselves is solid. Cause our bridge gets a whole lot of traffic.

And we have learned to love each other for our differences, not in spite of. We constantly teach each other about ourselves and about the Infinite. Sometimes we are friends to each other. But most times, we are spiritual partners to each other. We get on each other’s nerves because we ask that all too familiar question – what are you afraid of? Or when I am not sure why you call somebody, you do not even give me the chance to ask you why, you like I know you gonna ask me why I did that gurl and we both laugh and then you answer it anyway.

So what is our secret – we have always loved each other as God has loved us. We never stopped. Sometimes we have liked each other more then others, but our love for each other has never stopped. This past year, we have grown so much closer because we went through similar but different breakups at the same time. Your engagement ended and I resigned from my pastorate. We both have shared our healing stories, our trials, our struggles, and our transformations. In the process, we have learned to build bridges between us that bridge the differences. We have learned that we are far more alike then we are different. So what has our secret been – we have never run away, we have never turned our backs on each other – we have always pulled each other closer so that we could gain a greater understanding of ourselves and each other. Hmm, I remember the day you got upset because one of our professors told you that you were white and I was black. I felt so good that somebody saw that part of my soul and you were pissed. That seems like so long ago... as I look back over the years, what I have come to know is this --- we are as close as we are now because we have come to love, respect, honor, and affirm not just what is similar and compatible in our relationship, but what is different. Is that because you are Hagar’s daughter and I am the Halfrican. Is our ability to connect with the other round pegs in square holes in the world because we know that it is like to be one? But we also are able to connect with the square pegs in the world. Maybe that is because we remember they too are children of the Creator and have valuable lessons to teach us about the Creator. All I know is this – I am so grateful that we met. And thank you for being the only one who was willing to eat lunch with me that day. What you do to the least of thee, you do to me.