Here I am at home in Seattle during September 2016.
First, the trappings: My body is 60 years old as I start this blog. Somewhat overweight, otherwise active and healthy. I inherited longevity so most likely I’ll be posting here for a while. No guarantees of course.
I describe myself – and thus my relationships and experiences – as a family member and friend, Christian mystic, psychologist and writer. Writer because words/print are my creative outlet. And I have many wonderful friends and a few very close ones. Thank God.
At one point I could describe my life using small numbers: one husband – Rob, and two kids – Clarke and Carolina, two parents, two sisters, two animals, two jobs, two cars, even two houses. Pretty ordinary for a privileged white middle-aged female. Then my father died and Rob retired….
That’s about when I started traveling back and forth to Nicaragua. Then I added a second church to the mix. I am active at the Episcopal cathedral in town as well as the small bilingual church nearby. Christian mystic describes me best at this point in terms of faith, I guess. Trinitarian words – God, Jesus, Holy Spirit – are the words I grew up with and know best. Yet, upon finding silence and the writing of the mystics from across traditions and time and from around the globe, deep peace began to bloom in me. When we published Bridging, there was a blank page to fill, so I wrote and inserted this quote near the beginning of the book:
Clearly there are infinite acceptable ways to talk about what is Ineffable, that which is too great to describe fully. Likewise there are many wonderful ways to practice peace and to create goodness.
This fits for me. I am a life-long learner in this regard and in many others.
Speaking of learning, I am an educational psychologist, aka school psychologist. I have a checkered past, having worked in hospitals, schools and at non-profits. I keep moving around, ten years here or there and can happily say that I have always enjoyed my work, especially now. I serve the youngest children and their families in the public schools. I suspect I will officially retire from this position someday.
So those are my basic characteristics. What drives me though – the core of who I am – is best described more poetically.
The Core of Who I Am
I stand on the bridge. Hell, sometimes I am the bridge. From here, I can see at least two sides, to most of my life experiences. Even on day one, I was proclaimed both dead, then alive. I studied special education, imbedded in regular education. And there was Black and White, and then Gray. I speak English, studied French and am learning Spanish. I serve children and grown-ups in my work life. I am a psychologist, thus both artist and scientist. Even politically and spiritually, I can recognize all sides of the aisles.
And so I have become an ally, an advocate, usually for the minority and what may not be obvious to us, the privileged ones. Not loudly and actively but with an understanding of what it means to be visibly different, unusual, underdog. I walk alongside. Convene others in community so that everyone gets heard, and usually appreciated, often loved.
Even from a place of ambiguity or poverty or injustice or very sheer grief and sadness, I am rarely silenced completely. I continue to breathe because I tend to see hope and promise anyway. I am profoundly optimistic. Always have been, always will be. After all, I grew up knowing I’d overcome death itself.