19 April 2008

Meeting David Wilson & the Pope

Ever had one of those moments where your whole paradigm shifted? It happened today on a Saturday afternoon in April in a too large house in a predominately white and Mormon village in Utah. Darren and I were about to tackle some much needed yardwork as the morning was bright and full of potential. A strong wind settled in, seemingly out of nowhere, and stirred the dusty topsoil from the freshly plowed field next door on a path directly intersecting our yard. We had to flee the sunshine for indoors, fixed a snack, and turned on the TV. A re-broadcast of a film made by a young black man named David Wilson was just beginning. He had set out on a personal journey to explore his history, his family, his inner struggle for identity.... for purpose and meaning. He began by contacting a man whose ancestors 'owned' his ancestors who were brought to America enslaved. This man's name was also David Wilson. They met - they had real conversation - the families joined in friendship. This movie had incredible depth, nuance, and confronted you with uncomfortable questions, but regardless of the agitation, young David Wilson kept asking the questions and pushing to uncover his own truth. A truth that by knowing could educate and help so many others. I know in the moment I took it all in 'I got it' (well, a minuscule portion of it, in my own way). The movie was followed by a discussion about race -- thought provoking. Sometimes we are afraid to express or believe our own truth. Some experiences are too tough to talk about -- it might make others feel uneasy. We ask the wrong questions and get shallow answers because we are not willing to go beyond the surface. A bit like ABC's Democratic Debate last Wednesday. I also watched the Pope meeting and blessing disabled children at a seminary in New Jersey. He tenderly touched their foreheads, or cupped their faces in his hands. The children would reach up and hold his hand for a moment, their mothers crying silently behind them as someone who means a great deal to them "got it" when it came to "seeing" their children. Sometimes TV helps you believe it is a small world after all.

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