This Isn’t Us?

Columbia River Gorge

“Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself, and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves. Living for others is a rule of nature. We are all born to help each other. No matter how difficult it is … Life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.” ~ Pope Francis 

Monday at lunch I was taking a quick look at Facebook and one of my friends shared an article from Yes! Magazine. The title is “The Shared History of Wild Horses and Indigenous People.” When I saw the title I said to myself, “There were no horses on this continent until he Spanish brought them.” But, since I’ve vowed to investigate when some idea challenges what I think I know, I read the article. What I discovered is that I was wrong. As it turns out, and this is verified by archeologists, wild horses did live on this continent but they were believed to have been wiped out in the last Ice Age. Indigenous people are setting the record straight. In fact, the small numbers of horses that now remain from the larger herds are being cared for on two different sanctuaries, one in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and one in Alabama.  

This fascinating article, that shot down my arrogant assumption that I knew the truth because I learned it in History class, set up what happened later in the week.

I’ve been confronting my assumptions in small doses for the last few months, since the Black Lives Matter movement has become so prominent. It’s uncomfortable work, but I’m glad I’m learning that many of my assumptions are wrong. As part of my resolve to become better educated, I put the book, How The South Won The Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America by Heather Cox Richardson (See this article about her in the New York Times) on my Amazon wish list. If it was on my wish list, I could put off buying it until I felt ready to read it. Spirit works in mysterious ways. I got it for Christmas. It’s in my house now beaconing me to read it. 

My sister, who is the one who introduced the book to me, has been sharing bits and pieces from it. She’s much more brave than I am and bought it shortly after she discovered Heather Cox Richardson on Facebook. From what she shared, reading this book is not going to make me feel comfortable. I think it’s going to require me to speak up and take action. That makes me feel uneasy. Speaking up on certain topics is outside my comfort zone.

All of these things were rattling around in my head when the riots and invasion of the Capital Building happened on Wednesday January 6th. I rarely watch the news, but on Wednesday evening, I turned it on. My resolve to understand the times we’re living in made me watch instead of turning away and saying to myself, “This will work itself out.” But just like the phrase that so many news people and pundits said, “What’s going on. This isn’t us,” rang out, a growing number of news people, Rachel Maddow and Joy Reid of MSNBC among them, said things like, “This is us until we face our history and our wounds.” They are right. We have to confront the REAL history of our country.

As I was thinking about this post, I was leaning toward ignoring the news and not writing about how the horrible acts of violence and vandalism made me feel. But I can’t shy away from the fact that this country, and even the greater world is broken and wounded. And Wednesday’s events pointed out the huge amount of work we need to do.

If you’ve been following my blog posts for any length of time you know that I believe that whatever happens “out there”, is a reflection of what’s happening inside each of us. So, I took a good look at myself. These are the things I found. 

I recently realized that I hurt someone very deeply and at the time, I thought I was right and so even though I had apologized, I did it making excuses for my behavior. That’s not an apology! Looking at and accepting that I can be cruel, judgmental, dismissive of other people’s feelings, and even at times hateful, is extremely difficult. I don’t know about you, but I feel the reaction in my solar plexus and it’s so uncomfortable that all I want to do is get rid of the feelings. Sometimes I gloss them over, or push them into some dark corner of my mind and ignore them. But I’ve lived long enough to know that they don’t stay buried. Those unhealed wounds and wrong assumptions resurface. At first they do it in little ways, but if I don’t take time to examine them, they manifest as bigger and bigger problems.

This is really hard to say, but what happened Wednesday reflects my own stubbornness. There are times when I’m convinced I’m right about something and I want everyone else to believe it too. In fact, I can be a bit of an A-hole about it, like right now. I want everyone to understand that they need to be doing lots of self-examination so we can heal our outer world. On the other hand I know I can only take care of myself. Each person has their own life path. It’s not for me to interfere no matter how much I’d like to.

Hate and racism ARE a part of our country’s history. We have to face that fact. Another friend of mine, shared what happened recently to her adopted daughter of color, and her grandson. While shopping, someone shouted at her and made misinformed, hateful comments. This mom is sure things like this happen to her beautiful daughter more often than she admits. That made me extremely sad. But here’s what made me even more sad, the mom doesn’t see any hope that things will ever change. And that makes me more determined than ever to share about my personal journey of self-discovery. If I’m confronting my own wounds and wrong assumptions and sharing them with you, then maybe, I’ll help create a little snowball effect. 

I know I’m just one person but my mission is to spread as much hope and love as I can. Nothing changes over night, but I’m willing to add my small efforts by making little strides in my own life so that maybe thirty, or fifty, or one hundred years from now the world will be a more loving place.

Thanks to all my new and current followers for reading, liking, and commenting. I appreciate the time you take to read my thoughts.

Lucinda Sage-Midgorden © 2021

Lucinda is the author of The Space Between Time, an award finalist in the “Fiction: Fantasy” category of the 2017 Best Book Awards.

Have you ever experienced life shattering events? Yeah, most of us have. In The Space Between Time, Jenna Holden gets slammed by her fiancé walking out, her mother’s untimely death, and losing her job all in one week. But she receives unexpected help when she finds her three-times great-grandmother’s journals and begins the adventure of a lifetime.

The Space Between Time is available in all ebook formats at Smashwords and for Kindle at Amazon, or you can find the ebook at iBooks or Barnes and Noble. If you prefer a physical copy, you can find a print-on-demand version at Amazon. Stay tuned for news when the audiobook version is published.

Lucinda is also the host of Story-Power a new podcast where she and her guests discuss the stories in all formats that have changed their lives. It’s available here on Sage Woman Chronicles and on Apple, Google, and Spotify podcast apps. Please rate and leave a review. It helps people find me.

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Published by lucindasagemidgorden

I grew up in the West, the descendant of people traveling by wagon train to a new life. Some of their determination and wanderlust became a part of me. I imagine them sitting around the campfire telling stories, which is why I became first a theatre artist, then a teacher and now a writer. They are all ways of telling stories.

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