The Land of In-Between
July 22, 2020
The Land of In-Between
Today, I find myself feeling fear, concern, and uncertainty while also experiencing excitement. How can this be? Shouldn’t I feel one emotion at a time? Surely, a person can’t experience extremes in emotions simultaneously. However, we do all the time. I remember when I first prepared to jump out of an airplane (with a parachute attached)! I was incredibly fearful of the next moment. Thoughts ran through my head like “Will my parachute open?” and “If it doesn’t open up, will I remember what my next step is?” At the same time, I was feeling anticipation for an experience I had never had. I felt a strong desire for the unknown that was one small step outside the safety of that airplane. I found myself energized and curious while feeling trepidation and anxiety all mixed together.
This is where I find myself today. I wonder whether, and suspect that there are, others in the world right now who are also finding themselves with an incredible blend of emotions. One moment we might be full of rage responding to something we see on the news. The next moment we might be inspired and full of hope based on an interaction we had with a stranger in the community. I think that there are many of us who are living in the land of in-between.
Gardening as a metaphor
I am a gardener. Because of this, I often compare so much to my gardening adventures. The past few years have been frustrating and unsatisfying in the garden because we have many deer who wander our neighborhood in southern Indiana. They are beautiful creatures, but they cause a tremendous amount of damage to everyone’s gardens. However, this year, Kim and I chose to install a deer fence that is not only attractive but also keeps the deer at bay in our side- and backyard. The deer still wander through our front yard, but they can no longer access a good portion of our yard. Once the fence was up, we began to see colors that we had not seen in years. Once the fence was up, we began to dream about what we could grow that was not even a possibility just a year ago because those plants would have been eaten. So, the dreaming of our garden has commenced. This year has been lovely, but next year will be even better because we can continue to grow our vision and create the yard our dreams.
Finding hope in the darkness
My life and the country I live in are also possibly in the land of in-between. It feels dark. It feels dangerous. It feels like there is hatred around every bend. And yet, there is also hope and an abundance of love. There is optimism that we the people of the United States may find a new path forward, that we may all begin to be more aware and to own the true history of our country. Hopefully, we also sit with the reality and truly grieve what the US has done to people it has deemed “other.” Thanks to Asheville, North Carolina, which is leading the way as its’ city has approved reparations for its’ residents just last week. Perhaps we are approaching a massive reckoning, the likes of which this country has never known. I truly believe that our country cannot move forward and reach for the ideals that were written so long ago until we come together collectively to grieve, earnestly apologize for our wrongdoings against humanity, and listen, learn, and change our ways.
Our country is a conglomeration of relationships. We have relationships with our friends and loved ones. We have a relationship with our community and state. We have a relationship with people in our community who pray or look differently than we do. Relationships grow and strengthen only when people are intentional with each other. It is imperative that we learn to be honest with one another, be vulnerable with one another, sincerely listen and try to understand the world from the others’ perspective and allow that perspective to be valid. It is in our learning about other people and their experiences that we can begin to empathize, feel compassion, and grow as people.
I, among many others, find myself learning. I am reading. I am listening to podcasts that allow me to hear the experience of Black Americans. I am having long-overdue conversations with family and friends about race relations in our country. I am a beginner, but I am in this for the long haul. I have long desired to be a part of the solution. I haven’t always known exactly what that means and what that looks like. However, I do know this. I deeply desire to be part of the healing of our country, and I am deeply committed to the process of healing the soul of our country and all its people. And today, I feel less alone in this process, which inspires and excites me.
How are you feeling during these turbulent and interesting days? Would you like support to feel more grounded? Would you like to understand your emotions a bit better? Are you simply desiring support at this time?
Before I forget, I want to remember to share with all of you, due to the extenuating economic circumstances that many are facing right now, I am continuing to work on a sliding scale and will do so until further notice.
As part of my education, I decided to begin listening to Austin Channing Brown’s video web series. Many of you who follow me know that I became a fan of Brown’s last summer when I was fortunate enough to hear her speak. Her web series, The Next Question (TNQ), is wonderful! It is a show that you can pull up on your computer, phone, or iPad. Brown is the executive producer and host along with Chi Chi Okwu and Jenny Booth Potter. I am a firm believer that change happens when we can have honest, brave conversations face to face.
I recently viewed this video and was absolutely blown away by Valarie Kaur. I am so enjoying learning about people and organizations that are new to me. Kaur is an American civil rights activist, lawyer, award-winning filmmaker, educator, author, and Sikh voice. I found this speech riveting. Interestingly, I have been wondered if America was in the process of birthing itself anew. Kaur gave this speech on December 31, 2016. Sit back and take this all in!