A Year of Thanks
A human thing
What she told us last night, among other things, was that she was much despised among some members of her community. What they wouldn't really forget, she said, was that she wasn't born among them, had spent her first several years a long ways away, and had a spirit that was, they claimed, well, different. What she told us was that some in her community don't like her or are afraid of her, even though she'd come to love their customs, their traditions, their means of making meaning out of life itself--traditions which are, by the way, hers too.
What she told us was that some other people thought that she acted too much like people from the world, people from outside the community. What she told us was that some, at least, didn't trust her because, by their perceptions, she'd had no faith in the way things had always gone; they accuse her of abandoning her very identity because she isn't doing things the old way.
She told us much more too--much, much more--and she never acted like--nor played--the victim. Not once did she attempt to secure our sympathy or pity. She just told us what she thought life is like right now. She told us the truth.
She's Native American, just as Native as her community.
This morning, after a wonderful presentation last night, it's a joy to recognize that the phenomenon she described--the skeptical sneer of traditionalists, the distrust of those who don't want to change--isn't just a Native thing. It's a human thing. Happens in my community too: the sometimes rough-and-tumble push-and-pull of tradition vs. change.
I'm thankful, really thankful, for the many colors we humans come in because we're blessed by our glorious diversity. But I'm even more thankful to have seen once more that, somewhere beneath those coats of many colors, we're all powered, for better and for worse, by pretty-much-the-same human heart.