Sunday, January 27, 2008

if you live in a glass house

Funny how life brings it isn’t it? I mean we all sit in our glass houses hoping desperately that nobody among us thinks they are without sin, all the while looking for a chink in our brother’s armor—even if we aren’t his keeper. (how was that for mixed metaphor? at this point I’m not even sure what I’m talking about, but stick with me for a bit and we’ll learn together). This morning as I lay in my gloriously puffy bed with freshly washed sheets, reading e-mails, checking the news and wishing for breakfast in bed; I came across a thought of momentary noteworthiness that washed my struggling heart with serenity.

You see, I’ve had sort of a shitty week. Now I wouldn’t go so far as to say a totally shitty week, and it has got absolutely nothing on last week in the total stank department—in truth, things started to brighten up for me at least by Wednesday—so “sort of” really is a perfect descriptive in this case.(I’m just good like that.) What’s funny though is that the change from total to sort of just really insisted on inserting itself whether I liked it or not. And frankly I did like it; I have actually been doing some strange ritual of supination and begging this week and even considered various methods demonstrated in “agnes of god” for the truly devout to bring about a lifting of the proverbial gloomy cloud that has been pouring down, frizzing my hair and plainly ruining my make-up for nigh on a fortnight now.

When the breakfast in bed never appeared I roused myself for an outing to the local coffeehouse to enjoy a warm, ritualistic cup of eye-opener and some friendly banter. The banter was altogether at least 5 times as friendly as it has been for many Sundays and the learning was profound. My coffee companion began to describe a Sundance documentary by stacy peralta of "dogtown" fame called,"made in america" about the genesis of gangs in america and how they began from a genuine desire to build community and a sense of place in the world in the early 50’s—with no real intent or need for violence. My oversimplification (for literary purposes) of the plot linked my thoughts to the brief film I watched just last night about the favelas/slums in brazil and the nature of the gang violence and destitution lived there and the overall stinkyness of my past few weeks.
Then a little question arose in my brain or maybe from my heart…is it any wonder that the people of the world faced with amazing hardship and strife have a hard time rising above their trials when those of us with puffy beds and even the remotest possibility of breakfast being served there can’t seem to get out of our glass houses, quit trying to cast the first stone, wanting to find a chink in our brother’s armor and aren’t even the least bit interested in being his keeper? (not in the zoo sense of the word, but more in the jungle sense of “we’re all in this jungle together, why don’t we want to run in the same herd” sort of way).
The documentary told of how the men who started the gangs, or in their words—clubs, were looking for a place of fraternity where they could come together and form stronger bonds, hold their accomplishments up with pride—a place that wasn’t being allowed to them from the white community.
What is it in the nature of people that would not want another man or woman to be able to join with them because of a common bond? Why it is that human nature does not imbue in us an unquenchable desire to form these bonds wherever possible, to overcome our differences, rejoice in them and relish our similarities as well? When viewed in the global sense, this question is timely and oft disheartening…our nation and global village are crippled because of shortsighted behavior, but my question is posed on a poignant and purely personal level. If we can’t learn to see our literal brother or sister through the lens of unconditional love, even when they behave atrociously; if we can’t embrace our lover or best friend because we love them even when they disappoint us terribly, then at what point is it safe to say that nobody’s house will be left standing—glass or otherwise?
I don’t ask this question to imply that we should all abandon our opinions and differences, nor that we should hesitate to defend or even reveal them, I merely ask in recognition of my own learning…is there a way that we, as the closest of beings, can see each other in all our differences, embrace the fact that there are as many opinions and differences in this world as there are people and we are lucky to have people who love us enough to dispute those differences loving us all the while?
I suppose it was the experience of truly connecting with a few people this week, who while so different from me, were amazing and magnificent in their own right that I began to love them for it—which lifted the gloom, inserted the opportunity to connect through my heart, found the way to express diversity—even resolve conflict, all the while cradling it with compassion. It is this place which instills in me great hope for the people of the world—as we, as I, learn to see all my brothers with the heart--the differences no longer present a conflict, they present the opportunity to more deeply know another and through that, myself—and this will be our global village’s greatest triumph—whether we agree on it or not.

Now playing: Peter Tosh - Glass House
via FoxyTunes


  1. Thank you so much for this journey! There are so many points to consider. Thank you for your musings. Thank you for posting them. Thank you for the insight.

    With gratitude and blessings.

  2. So here's the thing:

    A lot of people don't want to venture into a relationship - even something as small as a locking of the eyes for a split second - because, I think, there's a fear that to let somebody in is to give something away or to be exposed or to lose a perceived power you believe you hold.

    I know. It's all weird and sad at the same time.

    A few years ago, I went to a self-awareness event that was contrived, manipulative and, in a lot of ways, really, really bad.

    But in the midst of it all, we did this little drill where you'd sit facing someone, knees touching knees, holding hands,eye closed and then, taking turns, speaking out loud to your mother as if she were the one holding your hands.

    The person who's hands I held was an inner city black guy from LA. Not in a thousand years would we have found ourselves in that situation. Nonetheless, we had a great, fulfilling, emotional and enlightening experience.

    Years later, I wouldn't know the guy if I saw him. Or him me. That said, for a few minutes, we were brothers.


  3. bri--

    it's been a big one for me this year, letting people in...and sometimes it has come back to bite me in the butt...and many more times not. so i stick with it for those moments, precious and rare as they may be.