Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Giving Thanks for . . . You

As the American Thanksgiving holiday nears, I want to issue a note of profound thanks to all the readers of this blog who contribute so much to Steve's and my life on an ongoing basis.  The supportive comments many of you made in response to my meditation yesterday about events in his home Catholic diocese of Crookston, Minnesota, mean a great deal to both of us.  I read them to Steve this morning, and he was very touched by the support.

One of the recognitions that is growing inside me now, as a result of several years of living out loud through this blog and coming to see that I'm a part of a much wider community of fellow pilgrims than I previously realized, is that the hope for a more humane world depends not on one or a handful of savior figures.  It depends on us.  It depends on all of us, hoping, dreaming, and building together.

As I think about this theme lately, a passage from Jan Morris's book about Trieste comes to mind.  Morris was first in Trieste when she was stationed there as a British soldier, James Humphrey Morris, prior to her transitioning to Jan Morris.  She later returned to Trieste as Jan Morris and wrote about the experience in her book Trieste and the Meaning of Nowhere (NY:  Simon & Schuster, 2001).   

As she notes throughout the book, Trieste holds a special place in her heart, because it's an interstitial place in which nationality and race (and in her case, gender) are blurred, and in which lines separating people from each other on those grounds become indistinct and even unimportant.

Here's the passage that's in my mind lately:

There are people everywhere who form a Fourth World, or a diaspora of their own.  They are the lordly ones!  They come in all colours.  They can be Christians or Hindus or Muslims of Jews or pagans or atheists.  They can be young or old, men or women, soldiers or pacifists, rich or poor.  They may be patriots, but they are never chauvinists.  They share with each other, across all the nations, common values of humour and understanding.  When you are among them you know you will not be mocked or resented, because they will not care about your race, your faith, you sex or your nationality, and they will suffer fools if not gladly, at least sympathetically.  They laugh easily.  They are grateful.  They are never mean.  They are not inhibited by fashion, public opinion or political correctness.  They are exiles in their own communities, because they are always in a minority, but they form a mighty nation, if they only knew it (pp. 195-6).

They are grateful: despite their experience of being in diaspora for one reason or another, those living in this diaspora state--a Fourth World, as Morris calls such folks--muster the ability to laugh, to tolerate and accept.  And to be grateful.  It is gratitude that links them one to another across lines of religion, race, nationality, gender and sexual orientation, fashion, political opinions, and so forth. 

As I have found, through this blog, that I am linked to many others living in diaspora situations--for whose lives and connections to my own journey I am deeply grateful.  A happy Thanksgiving day to readers in the U.S., and a happy day to readers in other parts of the world!

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