Waking Up & Me
There are lots of different ways to wake up. For me, whether at 3 am or 6, once I open my eyes I’m wide awake and thinking.
My waking up to the Big Topics was similar. It happened quickly at an inopportune time. I’d moved my young family from our home to graduate married student housing. I’d planned to get an advanced Physical Therapy degree in order to teach. In the midst of a weekend workshop during my second semester, far from the classroom, I suddenly woke up to the connections between my global family, my money and economic disparity and faith. I finished my degree, but slowly began to turn from physical therapy to exploring this intersection of faith, money and my global family.
It was disorienting to suddenly know myself as a part of a global neighborhood, connected in more ways than I could imagine. I wanted my life to be lived in a milieu that looked more like the huge and richly varied world. In addition, it was obvious to me that we needed everyone’s experience and gifts to navigate the demands of our time. Women and men. Eastern and western. North and south. Black and brown and red and yellow and white skinned. Everyone.
I’m not one to try to go it alone. I clung to the life-line I’d found at the weekend workshop with Ministry of Money, and was active in the next three organizations that were birthed from that same stream—Journey into Freedom, Harvest Time and now Wisdom & Money. found places to volunteer that would put me in places of diversity, not to try to “help” but to get to know people and work alongside a greater variety of folks than lived in my neighborhood. I reached out to Be Present, Inc. in my search to find a way to bring the fullness of myself and to be with a diversity of others in their own fullness. I formed deep friendships with many, including a friend I met at a Be Present training, Alease Bess, and we “stepped into the gap” together.
My most powerful deep dive into what it took me to wake up was through writing. I knew I wanted to explore the Big Topics of race, class and gender, but I hadn’t planned to write a memoir. But I discovered that the only waking up story I could tell was my own.
In the process of creating Big Topics at Midnight: A Texas Girl Wakes Up to Race, Class Gender and Herself I carefully looked back at my life and at the lives of my ancestors. Pouring over childhood diaries, memories, photos and genealogy charts, I gained an understanding of what I noticed, and didn’t notice growing up white in West Texas. As I had done with my own life, I also examined the strengths and the unjust actions of my ancestors. In order to work with the Big Topics “out there,” I had to know the fullness of myself and my family.
Being asleep to the Big Topics meant being unconscious of much, much more than merely the injustice all around. Sleep isn’t selective. If our world is narrowed to the “official” perspective held within white-skinned patriarchary, our emotions, spirit and intellect are also stunted. Waking up requires tenacity, but the real world, the diverse world, is soul-satisfying and, ultimately, more fun and free for everyone.
If you are interested in reading a fuller story of waking up, check out Big Topics at Midnight.