Sunday, July 27, 2008

Epiphany of a Caregiver

My first title for this post was "The Radicalization of a Caregiver." That seemed too flinty. Too much like how we used politicization years ago when a lifetime of racial prejudice imploded after a Southern white finally met an actual Negro. The writer's title, Mourning has Broken, is better than any of these words, but it won't work in a blog tag aimed at grabbing a reader's attention with a seed of content. After you read the essay you may know what I mean.

This is recommended reading from Amanda Baggs. It's not good form for me to quote the punchline, but I'm afraid readers might not get the point, and it is too important to miss. Do take time to read what comes before.

A religious experience:

During a week working in New Mexico, I took a drive to the pueblo of Acoma. This stunning place has been dubbed Sky City because it is a human dwelling place located on the top of a mesa that overlooks hundreds of miles of New Mexican desert.

I arrived at the end of the day and caught the last tour. There were only a few of us who boarded the rickety bus for a ride up the side of the mesa. Once there, we walked through the town seeing buildings that seemed to rise naturally from the earth, seeing a vista that inspired even world-weary eyes. Then rounding a corner we were confronted with a huge Catholic cathedral that sat at the edge of the mesa. We all were taken aback at the sight.

Our guide led us into the cathedral and we heard that many native labourers (his polite word for slaves) died during the building of the cathedral and how the priest seemed unconcerned as builders fell off the side of the mountain to their deaths. When we left the building I stood beside him as others took snapshots of the sunset behind the cathedral.
I told him that the cathedral seemed very odd to me. He looked at me for the first time with interest and asked me what I meant. I told him that it was very out of place, that it didn't fit. He smiled and told me that white people seemed to have a need to make holy places. Then he said it: "Holy is not what is created, holy is what was created."

I got it. It is normal to have a disability. It is normal to be gay. It is normal to be fat. It is normal to be black. It is normal to be a woman, a man, tall, short... We have wasted much time believing that we are to create something different from what we were given rather than celebrate the differences we were given.

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