My spirituality today is still ever-evolving, but I am each and both and all my ancestors at the same time. I think this is indicative of our world and how, even with our differences, we can learn so much from one another and live peacefully side by side.
How will we transcend this cloistered pandemic moment that allowed for intimacies to flourish — intimacies that are usually interrupted by the busyness of the world? How will we respond to being shaped and reshaped by the inbreaking of the “real world”?
I was challenged with Su not to lapse back into my tendency to be shy or to run away when I feel exposed. The practice was — and remains — to keep showing up. To stay present to the unfolding of a relationship built — from the outset — on the foundation of vulnerability. It is far from easy.
If you’ve ever been in the presence of someone who is unafraid of themselves and thus unafraid to truly see you — then you know that it is sacred and holy. The space between you is where the divine shows up fully. There grace abounds.
While I hope for the pandemic to end and for less lives to be put in danger, I also hope that the experience of quarantine, which has forcibly and suddenly shrunken our individual and collective freedoms and capacities, can be an opportunity for able-bodied folks to think about how this is, has always been, and will always be the “normal” that people with disabilities must live with.
During this global pandemic, we’ve all had to bear overwhelming stress and devastating losses while also being cut off from the people, activities, and places that bring us joy and help us cope with distress in the day to day.
I grew up with youth pastors preaching about how we should not say “jeez!” or “gosh!” because we were really saying “Jesus Christ!” and “God!” and thereby implicitly taking the Lord’s name in vain. As much as I wanted to honor God, that just seemed frivolous.
I was playing basketball in seventh grade when someone yelled out, “Look, it’s Yao Ming!” At first, I didn’t know if this was a compliment or if the person was ignorant. I then realized they were making fun of the color of my skin.
My parents’ marriage ended along the same timeline as the fall of the Berlin Wall: cracking apart in 1989, formally dismantling around 1990, and all but gone by 1991. While East and West Berliners were celebrating their reunification, my mother and my father mourned their divorce.
Our kitchen is filled with all manner of children’s supplies. Sippy cups, plastic cutlery, and a half dozen small, white plastic bowls with blue or pink rims. We fill them up with cereal and pretzels, fruit and popcorn; basically, anything edible.