“What island am I on?” I asked myself. Outside is a leader belittling countries of dark-skinned humans. Outside is a legion of angry white men at war with themselves and a changing world. Outside is a living contradiction of faith. Outside we’re told that it is us versus them. But I was on an island where ethnicity and social station did not matter. This island’s mission was human kindness.
This time last year I wanted to gather my own tribe around my dining room table. I craved their ways of thinking, experiences, wisdom, crafts and talents. But the problem with “my tribe” is we are not very tribal and gathering these folks at one time is akin to herding feral cats — which is why I love this weakly defined tribe.So, instead, I hiked the desert, wandered through the forests, listened to the rivers and ocean, bought mounds of books to read and ponder, and took to what I’ve always done at challenged life moments — threw words on paper in hopes of sorting it all out.
I often discuss taking the high road in these matters. That is no easy task. A personal analogy would be my desire to hike trails that traverse hills and mountains, and then to have my knees fail me. This is so personally frustrating. It’s as though I can not reach the heights that I seek. And, yes, it makes me angry.
I’m all about free speech. I’m all about the right to own a weapon. But the difference from me and Mrs. Geller who recently hosted a free speech event to mock another’s faith, and the difference from me and the two men who brought their legal guns to shoot down those who wish to mock their faith is a chasm wider than the distance from here to Neptune.