Saturday, August 30, 2008

The World of the Possible

Thanks to all of you who here or other ways have reached out this past week. This has been a week of great upheaval and yet also a chance for me to marvel at all of the good in our world and to be amazed at the changes afoot in my part of it. For younger daughter, we have now had oodles of high tech tests, tests that would not have been possible when I was a child, growing up in the '60's and '70's. It seems for now the answer is an inhaler which we are now trying to master- when, how often. The sophistication of the technology can amaze me, but it cannot replace the importance of people taking the time to listen, really listen to what someone else is sharing. And for everyone who listened to me, and to her, I give thanks to God.
For my older daughter, we are continuing to look for what she needs, but thanks to technology, on the 'Net and through email, I have ideas and suggestions and a plan. In this world of possibility, I can get these things faster, and see more information in depth before I ever pick up a phone. But in the end, it will take people willing to listen to her, to us, to know who she is and what she needs.
This past week we also lost track of my parents after they left here for FLA for two days. Bad weather took out their phone, cable and internet service and jammed cell phone connections. All of the technology in the world was not helping us know if they were safe at home or in a ditch. Finally I remembered another way to reach them, through a friend who was not affected, who was willing to listen and help out.
All of the technology in the world cannot replace that human component. We need each other to feel human.

In this world of possibility is another exciting development that I hope takes us one step farther, not in technology, but in being human, and seeing each other
as equals. I watched with excitement and emotion, the speech Barack Obama delivered at the Democratic National Convention, a speech filled with possibility, and a speech focused upon our humanity and dignity. A speech about the possibility of a way that is not the "same old, same old." Delivered by a man who has lived possibility.
Who has refused to accept the notion that he is "less than."

As a child growing up in the '60's and '70's I remember a long drive across the state of North Carolina in 1969 to go the Outer Banks for vacation. In those days before the advent of high speed interstate, the road meandered through every little town. It was hot and dusty. It was mid-day, as I peered out the window hoping to see anything of interest that would break up the monotony of the drive. As we wended our way through a sleepy town, I saw two African American men walking down the sidewalk. A white man was approaching from the other direction. When he got within some apparently prescribed distance, the black men stopped, stepped off of the sidewalk into the street and looked away while the white man passed. Then they were free to get back onto the sidewalk and continue.

Being curious I asked my parents, one from Philadelphia and one from NC, why this happened. My mother said it was just the way it was. My father said, but it shouldn't have to be. And then the air was stiflingly silent for what seemed like a very long time. Just the crackle of the radio and the brittle tension of two expectations of the world.

This is one of the stories I remembered as I watched Obama. As I watched as a child who heard and believed that the world as it has been is not the world as it has to be. I do not know how this election will ultimately be decided, but to be in a world where the historically unlikely- a woman, an African American are lifted up, and where people have become energized to see beyond the small window, is thrilling. A world of the possible is in our midst, if we are willing to listen, really listen, to share, to help out and embrace the fullness of humanity as it can be, and as God desires it to be.

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