I am fortunate in that many of my early childhood experiences have provided me with healthy foundations. They are essential to who I am and who I hope to become, but every once in a while I come across something that needs to go.
At a recent UUCG yard sale, I purchased a cd of mixed artist salsa music. It is full of trumpet and drums and the bright vibrant voices of Latin music; I really like it. The first time I played it, however, it took me back to a time when I was 10 years old. My family and I were at the Sherwood Island State Park in Connecticut. It is tucked in the corner of Long Island Sound, close to New York City. We were there for the day and as we walked past the picnic area on the way to the beach, this loud Latin music could be heard, the same trumpets and rhythms as my new cd. The music was totally foreign to me, as was the language of the families playing the music. It was different enough to be frightening, and it is the fear of the ‘other’ that I wish to unload. It stands in the way of my becoming my better self.
I recently came across a quote that helps me forgive my younger self for being afraid of people not like me, and at the same time encourages me to keep trying to expand my heart:
“What I know about being inclusive-crossing from culture to culture, learning the language of diversity-is that it’s the work of a lifetime. It’s hard not to accept people like you…Nothing that Unitarian Universalists need to do is more important than making justice real-here, where we are. Hard as diversity is, it is our most important task.”
Rosemary Bray McNatt, “It’s Hard Work”
May the light of love shine brighter in all of our hearts, eclipsing the fear that abides there as well.