Bouncing Between Cultures
It seems that I’ve lived many lives in this world, as so many people have. I’ve been a part of many cultures – the heavy shame and secret taboo of early gay life, a woman in the ‘70’s in blue collar life, a Christian Science private school kid, a railroad mechanic, a steelworker, a Science of Mind minister, a welfare-to-work recruiter in south Los Angeles, an outcast academic, a record promoter, a teen living in the projects, a suicide survivor (my father), a teacher, a pastoral care director in the dark days of AIDS, a professor, an entertainment copywriter, a private college marketing drone, and I’ve known many cultures in between.
Why all the cultural exposure? Maybe it’s a restless mind, maybe I’ve been guided but I’ve seen life from many perspectives, from the down-and-out to the privileged elite. Along the way I’ve learned that nothing is what it seems, that what looks like down is sometimes up, and that human beings are a tender lot. So how does all this tie in with spirituality?
It’s kind of an earthy, micro-culture Joseph Campbell thing. I’ve learned that in this rich human tapestry, we’re all living the same story, life’s drama in its fullness. We dream, we seek, we hope, we love, we live, and we die. I’ve learned that there is kindness everywhere and there are times of darkness so deep, we are knocked to our knees. But we get up, someone or something sparks hope again and we go on, to greater knowledge, deeper humility, and a greater awareness of the mystery of life.
In every culture, humans have longed to understand the mystery, to connect with that creative something that made them. All through time and history, people have dared to hope that they are loved, that their lives matter, and that they are not alone.
I believe there is something greater than we know ourselves to be, that it surrounds us, indwells us, and is always present. Sometimes I forget. Whenever I remember, life is definitely easier and better.