Circumstantial Racist

There is a statute of limitations on circumstantial racism. It ends the day we collide with the realization that in our ignorance, our privilege has plowed someone over. If in that moment we retreat, what once was circumstantial becomes premeditated.

 I fled the scene of my first teaching job in Baltimore City, accused of being a racist by the principal.

Those of you who know me now may find this surprising.

YOU??!!

Global Citizenship teacher?
Muslim student association sponsor?
Diversity conference planner?
Multi-cultural education trainer?
Restorative Justice facilitator?

You?!

For you who know this intercultural work that I’m always deep in the thick of, you may see this accusation of racism as proof that no matter what a white person does in contexts of color, they will almost inevitably be accused of racism.

But for others…particularly people of color, you will likely be asking a different question:

Well….were you? Racist?

My answer may surprise you.

How could I not be?

Born in the Ozark foothills, raised in a transition zone between rural and suburban, liberal arts educated in Garrison Keillor country in the upper-Midwest, the first time I lived in an area that was not disproportionately white was when I moved to Baltimore after college.

In my first teaching position I worked across the street from central booking, caddy corner to a cemetery, surrounded by infamous drug corners captured by The Wire, and cast in the very real flashing blue lights of police cameras.

Now how in is any 23 year old white girl supposed to make sense of all that? How likely is it that most 23 year olds regardless of color can have the historical, political, social, economic, spiritual perspective to understand the causes and consequences of such a stark human reality?

So…was it true? Was I racist?

Of course I was.

But not on purpose.

I was not raised in a context of deliberate and cultivated bigotry. I was raised in a compassionate Christian household where, above all, my mom insisted our faith was rooted in caring for the most vulnerable in our community. She was a champion for children. She hated bullies and would confront them in schools, church suppers, and super-market aisles. Despite the socially conservative constraints of the Bible Belt, she was bold enough in 1988 to reject the callousness of trickle down solutions and vote for Dukakis.

Her 8 year old staunchly republican daughter was appalled.

Her 36 year old progressive daughter couldn’t be more grateful.

No, my racism was not by personal design. It was by systemic proximity (or more precisely a lack there of) from neighbors who’s narratives could disrupt the mass media education I was getting from Law and Order and the nightly news.

Structural racism does not just keep people of color out. It keeps people of the pale in.

We move through an insulated existence where there IS such a thing as normal. Where there ARE absolute answers. Where you CAN trust authority.

And then at some point we come to the edge of our enclave. With our gaze off in the distance on our endless horizons, we step off the curb we didn’t expect into a pothole we didn’t see, twist our ankle, and collapse in the middle of oncoming traffic.

You want to know why white girls are always crying?

We weren’t raised not to.

And now we (overly) protected lily-white children have wandered into a world full of struggle our communities gated us from seeing.

3 years ago I took a group of public high school students on a study abroad trip to rural England. It was a group that reflected the diversity of their school and country from skin tone to head-covering.

During the day, they visited schools in pastoral settings. At night we would cook together in the kitchen where we would process the discoveries of the day. Many of their conversations with their British peers circled around race and culture.

When Miles told yet another story about yet another English kid comparing him to yet another black celebrity he looked nothing like, he laughed and said…

“You have NO idea how racist you sound.”

As we washed dishes together I asked. “Why do you think it feels so different to you to talk about race here? Why doesn’t their ignorance offend in the same way it would back home?”

After a few jokes about all the things that sound better with a British accent, Chloe was quick to put her finger on the difference.

“If you don’t know about race in America, you just haven’t been paying attention.”

These kids in North Yorkshire growing up amidst sheep farms, they were nestled snug in their culture. Where would they have ever had a chance to make friends with a black kid who could call them a racist?

I could identify. I grew up around sheep with Midwestern drawls. None of them black.

But unlike my planned community of the past or the physical spaces of the present, the virtual spaces most of us occupy today are NOT gated in the same way. There’s no way to not pay attention…unless you’re averting your eyes.

There is a statute of limitations on circumstantial racism. It ends the day we collide with the realization that in our ignorance, our privilege has plowed someone over. If in that moment we retreat, what once was circumstantial becomes premeditated.

Don’t flee the scene. We must bear witness. And then we must decide whether to aid and abet or become first responders.

Despite the risks.

The wounds are deep. So is the fear.

Apply pressure.

Hold.

 

Odd friends of Ramadan

Transformed by curious couplings during #Christians4Ramadan

Tonight, on Ramadan Eve, I finished two books, both of which were given to me. One by my daughter. One by a first year teacher.

A month ago, my daughter came home from Pre-K4 with I am Malala in her Ninja Turtle backpack.

Holding it up to me in two hands, like a stone tablet.  She said earnestly, (Ivy says most things earnestly) “Mommy I want to read this!”

She’d found it in the fourth grade classroom and I can only assume connected immediately with the tranquil gaze of Malala on the front cover.

“Umm…I want to read that too, five year old,” I said bemused. “Guess this is our first mother daughter book club.” We let Kip join too because…top bunk privilege. At bedtime, for the last month, we have been reading about Malala, Pakistan, Swat Valley, the rise of the Taliban, her Father’s activism, her own fight for human and children’s rights…and her love for Ugly Betty. Kip and Ivy have both been surprisingly riveted, only occasionally petitioning for a respite with Star Wars Rebels or Rosie Revere. After they become drowsy to the wisdom of Malala, I choose my late night profundity from a different direction.

Early in the school year, my colleague Andy (who had actually been a student at the school where I began teaching) asked me “Do you identify strongly with Leslie Knope?”

I gasped and grabbed his arm…

“Do YOU identify me with Leslie Knope?” I asked with rhetorical Leslie Knope-like eagerness.

“Umm…well that all depends…I guess some might see her as a little naïve.”

If by naïve you mean hopefully exuberant as she fearlessly charges into the world with blinders on to the peril towards herself or others but equipped with a bastion of binders to protect her…I guess I can see that.

I should mention here that my spirit animal is Leslie Knope riding a unicorn.

Andy took it all in stride and very thoughtfully presented me with Amy Poehler’s memoir, Yes Please, as a Christmas gift…which I finally finished today. I wish this pace could be explained by 1,500 pages, small print and no pictures…but the book is only 329 pages long and is laced with Polaroids, hand scribbled notes from 8 year old Amy, and large margins with riotous side-notes from  friends and colleagues. I have added to these with annotations of my own (should you wish to borrow my copy).

As I drink wine and write this, these two books sit next to me, the authors both gazing at me with challenge and expectation. I don’t think I seek out these kinds of peculiar pairings to be deliberately provocative. I’m just a reluctant sorter. They would seem an odd couple to anyone else…but to those who know me, this will likely not come as too astounding. The spiritual humanitarian alongside the hilarious hedonist. Sounds about right.

Ram-odd-an

I will write more specifics about my strange affinity for these powerful women and the lessons they have taught me in the days to come, but for tonight, I accept their odd juxtaposition in my life and their company into Ramadan just as I hope you will accept the oddity of an educational mystic once again inspired and cleansed by her pilgrimage through this holy month.

I don’t have a logical or convenient filing system for the world or the people in it. I don’t reject these curious couplings when they happen. When my daughter hands me book, I accept. When the first year teacher hands me a book, I accept. When a kid asks me to sponsor the Muslim Student Association…I accept. And then I also accept the possibility that, perhaps, we were supposed to co-exist all along. Become friends. Transform each other. Make the other giggle.

I think Malala and Amy might do some giggling together. I think I might join them. And you? You’re invited, too.

Giggle.

Accept.

Underwater Mountain Movers: What we can learn about leadership through ocean floor topography

Tidal waves and tsunamis shape the world even though they originate in deep unseen spaces.

Today I had the delight of sitting in meaningful and lingering conversation with two very different leaders.

One is running for office in Baltimore. The other is cozied in a corner office in Annapolis. Both are committed to education, empowerment of young people, and positive community transformation. But one will try to move mountains in the politically charged atmosphere of Baltimore governance, the other will quietly create continental drift in a Range on the ocean floor. One will be a household name. The other you would likely never know even if you were in a room with her.

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about where we (read I) should stand in order to leverage change. Today I was reminded that we can be catalysts for change in both spaces of high visibility and low visibility. That the quality and impact of societal and system transformations are not necessarily proportional to how visible their architects are.

You don’t have to see the catalyst to see the effect.

Today I saw a quiet leader for the first time.

I don’t mean I had never seen this person before.

I don’t mean that I had never seen a quiet leader before.

I mean I genuinely SAW a person I’ve known for years for who they truly are and the power they actually wield.

You’d never know it if you met her for the first time. She’s a listener. Self-deprecating. Waits a long time before she offers her own thoughts. Affirms those around her. Works tirelessly behind the scenes. Quietly accrues trust from all directions.

She’s an Ocean Bottom Mountain mover. You see a rogue wave, wonder at its passing, and then let it slip your mind as it moves beyond the horizon. All the while, under the radar, she has re-shaped the landscape in ways that will affect the currents for years to come.

UnderwaterMountains

A popular aphorism that may have been said by Harry Truman, Eleanor Roosevelt, or some other wise sage goes something like, “There’s no end to the good you can do if you don’t care who gets the credit.”

If I see a success or transformation I know I had a hand in facilitating, do I need to claim credit? Why? What does the effect lose by my calling dibs? What do I lose in the present or the future if people don’t know my involvement?

These questions will be my companions keeping me honest and self-auditing as I myself attempt to work towards the greater good.

Today I realized someone I mistook for a starfish has been a Titan all along. I sat during and after the meeting humbled by this realization. Grateful to have finally glimpsed the long reach of this gentle and benevolent entity. Honored to observe the secrets of her subtle yet persistent influence.

Tidal waves and tsunamis shape the world even though they originate in deep unseen spaces. They may not always get the credit, but we are forever changed by their impact.

I’ll cut you with my Unicorn…

How to change workplace culture with your therapy unicorn.

Workplace meetings are not renowned for their magic or mythical creatures.

Two months ago I sat in a bi-monthly meeting with my colleagues. This is one of those long standing scheduled meetings that has unfortunately developed an atmosphere of smothering cynicism.  I’m one of the newest and youngest members to this team. On this particular day, there was a problem on the table. How do we get business partners, administrators, counselors, and students to buy into a new online platform where they can register to host or have an internship? I suggested brining all the stakeholders together at each school so they could learn and get excited about the platform in proximity to each other.

One of my colleagues responded to this idea with…

“Really, Barbara? And then will there be unicorns?”

Oh.

No.

She.

Didn’t.

Yep. She did. In front of all my peers she called me a unicorn lover.

unicorn8

This day will live in infamy for TWO reasons.

  1. Because I’ve told this story indignantly countless times and I’m now blogging about it.
  2. Because I never realized before this moment that I was out of touch with my inner unicorn love.

My rage and disbelief makes the memory of my rejoinder a LITTLE fuzzy, but I believe I said something along the lines of:

“Yes. I will be riding my rainbow haired unicorn, and you best get out of its way!”

Implied in her critique, of course, are other labels and accusations. A dreamer. A naïve optimist out of touch with the pragmatic constraints of the world. Here was a person who, for whatever reason, wanted to quickly dismiss and shut-down a possible solution.  Many of you reading this will undoubtedly be able to share similar encounters with colleagues or cultures characterized by “can’t”. But in her defense…a confession.

I am a person who moves through life with a lot of…exuberance. (For a more detailed account, consider reading “Turn Down For What?”) I’m kind of like a puppy. I might jump and lick your face when I first see you, but I swear, I calm down after like a minute. And it’s all totally genuine. I really do think you’re just that great! I really do think there are a ton of solutions to intractable problems! I really do believe that if you build the right relationships you can harness the power of the people around you and innovate your way out of or into almost anything!

Are you exhausted by my exclamation points yet?

unicorn4
Crazy-eyed unicorn lady.

This can be a lot for the people around me to handle. Particularly if we’ve only just met. Folks are like, “She can’t possibly maintain this outlook or energy over time.”

Oh. But I can.

Before this moment, though, I didn’t even really LIKE unicorns.

Well…not in my adult life. I DID in fact grow up with “My Little Ponies” because my dad wouldn’t let me have Barbie’s because he didn’t want me to have a bad self-image. (And, yes I still have the pink castle. Yes you can come over and play with it.)

Being an ADULT PROFESSIONAL, though, who STILL likes unicorns, seems a little…infantile. But the more I told this story about a colleague threatened by my enthusiasm for creative solutions (which, by the way, I did in fact follow through on and all the stakeholders were TOTALLY excited in proximity to each other, thank you very much) the less it became about her, and the more it became about defending my right to carry my therapy unicorn anywhere I damn please.

unicorn3

That’s about the time I grudgingly began to wonder if unicorns might in fact be my spirit animal. I was not initially thrilled about this prospect.

I get it. Not everyone’s a unicorn person. They shed their rainbow hair everywhere and some people are allergic to glitter. If you need the effusive affection and affirmation of your place in the universe, don’t get a unicorn. They’re very independent, particular, and can be moody.

What’s more, there are indeed BAD unicorn owners out there. They’re all “believe in my unicorn” but they won’t let you ride it, pet it, or share joint custody. There are the unicorn lovers, too, that don’t pick up after their pet. They promise big things with their inspirational demos, but they don’t stay around long enough to follow through on the practicalities. Their unicorn is knocking shit over because they didn’t take it to obedience school or think about all the responsibilities that accompany unicorn ownership.

But if I’m going to own my unicorn, I’m going to feed, groom and board it, too. Its mane will be braided, its coat will be shiny, and we’re going to win some dressage blue ribbons together. So, don’t confuse my optimism with naïveté. If I tell you I’m planning a trip over the rainbow, you best believe I’ve booked the tickets, found a cloud to sleep on via “airbnb”, and filled up my tank on lucky-fucking-charms.

unicorn5

I am a pragmatic optimist. I see opportunities everywhere not because I’m making them up but because I’m looking for them AND because I’m already a regular member of a Unicorn playgroup with like-minded unicorn owners who believe in magic and will show up when I call. I have a smattering of “little orphan Annie” and “Pollyanna” in me. I will sneak out my upstairs window to go to the carnival.  I will rescue strays and hide them under piles of laundry. I will decorate the ailing curmudgeon’s room in prisms. I will persuade Daddy Warbucks to adopt the world.  I may be whimsical, but I’m also scrappy, self-aware, and “charmingly subversive.” Just. Like. My. Pet. Unicorn.

Once I crossed that rainbow, stopped talking bad about my colleague and unicorn hater behind her back, something (dare I say it) magical happened. People started saving a seat at gatherings for me to bring my unicorn.

It started small. At a meeting in a school library a “Book of Fantastical Creatures” appeared on my table. This same meeting my boss brought glitter and covered my work space with it. People started texting me pictures of t-shirts at Target, sardonic Memes, and screen shots of unicorn slippers.

unicorn7

And then, the penultimate miracle moment. The colleague who had started it all…who had made manifest my mythical affinities. What did she bring to the notorious bi-monthly meeting of doom?

A Solar. Powered. Unicorn.

For me.

Unicorn1

It bobbed gently in front of me throughout the day. Reminded me that even cynics can soften. Emboldened me when our Assistant Superintendent joined us to raise my hand and say…

“I want to know if something is possible.”

Instead of groans from my colleagues? Laughter. “Here come the unicorns!” These comments were no longer accusatory or dismissive. They were intrigued and bemused.

I can live with that.

This conversion from unicorn doubter to believer will forever serve as a testimonial that if we believe in unicorns…they suddenly appear. If we believe in unicorns, others do too. And they start to make room for them. They start to book meetings in proximity to verdant meadows where there is room for unicorns to frolic and room for humans to twirl. Evolve. Learn to fly. Breathe Fire.

Because…who DOESN’T want to believe in the possibility of unicorns?

So, Yes. My name is Barbara (not Annie or Pollyanna), and I believe in unicorns.

Climb on, or get out of our way.

Unvarnished Writing

When our paint is peeling, we must decide whether we layer on a glossy new coat or strip ourselves down to the unvarnished beauty that lies beneath.

I struggle when I’m writing to trust my intentions.

What is my agenda? Truly?

Do I seek attention?

Gratification?

Admiration?

When I look back and re-read the things my earlier selves have written, journal entries and college essays, blog posts and Patch articles, whether I grin or grimace is determined by whether I wrote to perform and charm or confess and console.

As in writing so in life.

Throughout the day we decide moment by moment which parts of ourselves to hold up to the light or hide in the shadows. Which parts of ourselves will play well to the audience. What was once conscious choice becomes habit. We spend our days obscuring and augmenting ourselves. With eyeliner and intellect. With high heels and bicep curls. With job titles and Instagram posts. We pluck and polish. Dye and comb over. We posture. We avoid eye contact.

Writing, too, can be like this. I can edit. Refine. Find my best angle. Control the lighting. Amend a position. Strike a new pose. I can re-write this line so it better captures my precise thought. Or I can leave it alone as it emerged the first time. Only I will be able to distinguish one line from the other.

In writing as in life, we can vacillate between a frantic need to be seen and a desperate fear of the same. The words become flesh. The flesh shapes the words.

But oh the power of eyes that see and accept. The heady sensation when we do reveal ourselves and find a gaze that doesn’t turn away or gawk. We long for someone to look at us, see us, celebrate us.

This morning I sat in my car at Anne Arundel Community College before a meeting and wrote:

“Are we a culture that encourages authenticity? Are we people conscious of how we condition our fellow humans to reveal or revile themselves?”

This afternoon, I ran into a former student on campus who (after lifting me off the ground in a bear hug) showed me a screen shot of a text message I sent him over two years ago:

IMG_1459

You better have chills.

We long for spaces characterized by this culture of authenticity and trust. When we graduate or outgrow these spaces, we seek them again and again. Even better…we create them anew.

Hanging on the wall of my classroom was this poem called “Our Deepest Fear”.

It begins…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

It ends…

“As we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

The Lenten season is my space to practice what I already believe deeply to be true.

When our paint is peeling, we must decide whether we layer on a glossy new coat or strip ourselves down to the unvarnished beauty that lies beneath.

I want to see you. Shine who you are. We’ll be blinding together.

Jeremy

“I can’t tell that we are gonna be friends…”

We are comforted and consoled by the humans we choose. We are challenged and evolved by the humans we don’t.

You want to make friends. We all do. Every new environment you enter…a classroom, the quad, your dorm…you will be asking yourself…

“Who will I sit with? Walk with? Eat with?”

I don’t want to be alone.

We are gonna be friends Sherri

It is a funny phenomenon of fate that you are most likely to be friends with your firsts.

First roommate.

First person you sit next to.

First day of class.

Most likely to (not?) be friends?
Most likely to (not?) be friends?

But after the relief of finding someone (anyone) to walk with begins to wear off…you will begin to look around and wonder…would I be happier in that group? With that friend?

So begins the self-selection process.

The Sorority.

The Ultimate Frisbee team.

The college radio station.

Over the next four years, you will begin to identify your niche friendship brand.

Nama-friends
Nama-friends “The Divine in me finds a friend in you.”

In contrast, your potluck of friends after your freshmen year, will be a hodgepodge of utter accidents and actual affinities. The faraway freshmen dorm cohort who marches in solidarity the 15 minute hike to the main campus. Versus the specificity of “I saw you lugging your telescope toward the arboretum at dusk and look! I brought mine too! What model is yours? The view is great from The Hill of Three Oaks.”

We are gonna be friends - net

My advice? Seek this balance between the odd and the intended friend for the remainder of your time. We are comforted and consoled by the humans we choose. We are challenged and evolved by the humans we don’t.

We are gonna be friends - hair

My previous post was a tribute to my first friend at Carleton College. Ours was begun by proximity and sustained by affinity. Had we not been randomly settled on 4th Burton, we never would have found each other. I may have never learned the wisdom of trails, knitting, and New England liberalism. She may have never had another opportunity to love a Midwestern Bible belt holy roller. Our gravity changed each other. Swung us on other trajectories we wouldn’t have chosen as our old selves but would never regret as our new selves.

We are gonna be friends hijab

Friendships in a major key can be a great consolation. These friendships are of our choosing. They affirm our impulses. Mirror ourselves back to us with complimentary variations.

We are gonna be friends - bike

But B7 Flat is beautiful. Dissonance and the comradery in minor chords haunts us long after the luxury of major tones has faded.

Some friendships are obvious and inevitable. Some affections are immediate. Some folks resonate with us from the first note.

And then…there are the others.

We are gonna be friends - deck

May you befriend the other. May you forever change each other.

#Muslims4Lent inspire #Christians4Ramadan

 “I’m sorry, Muhammad…are you talking to me?”

It is spring of 2009. I am sitting at the front of my classroom during lunch, and I’ve just about fallen off my stool.

It have not heard a divine voice from above…rather a human voice from within my classroom. Muhammad Khan, a Junior at Arundel High School and an active member in our Global Citizenship program…has just asked if I would sponsor the founding of a Muslim Student Association.

I’m confused.

I’m not a Muslim.

I’m not a student.

I’m a third wave feminist with a Christian background, a glow-in-the-dark Buddha on my desk, and an affectionate irreverence that has me blending religious teachings into a mystical fabric that suits me just fine but tends to confuse everyone else.

I swivel around on my stool with a comical glance behind me, looking for someone else he MIGHT be talking to.

“Are you sure Muhammad? I mean, you know I can get kinda’ sassy.”

I have him think about it for a few days…give him time to doubt the wisdom of including me in this endeavor. He comes back a week later, resolute.

…and this is how I become the sponsor of the Muslim Student Association at Arundel High School.

Rockin' the Abaya...
Rockin’ the Abaya…

This is also how I cross the following things off my “It’s a tough Hijab but somebody’s got to do it” Bucket List…

  • Learn how to tie a head scarf,
  • Research Middle Eastern Migration patterns in the Mid Atlantic,
  • Realize Pakistan is NOT in the Middle East
  • Learn how and why and when to say “As-Salamu alaykum”
  • Visit the Saudi Arabian and Omani Embassies
  • Eat Iraqi style crunchy rice and tomato stewed Okra
  • Contemplate how to ward of unwelcome Desi proposals
  • Learn that marshmallows and Starburst are NOT halal
  • Receive a grant for the first Muslim American Student conference in Anne Arundel County, Maryland

Not bad for an irreverent Midwestern Mystic.

This odd journey is made even more ironic because as a comparative religion major at Carleton College, the one religion I could not bring myself to study was Islam. It was all about the women. I inevitably felt this rising anger when I saw women shrouded in burkas, segregated at prayer times, silenced in the public forum.

Righteous indignation feels really good…but makes it hard to meet and befriend new faiths.

I came to understand later that this anger emerged in part as a reaction toward my own (to a much lesser degree) gendered upbringing where God was male and women obeyed their husbands. I also came to understand that what is theological and what is cultural is often so entangled not even practitioners of a faith can sort it all out.

During this past Easter season, my Lenten practice was an attempt to write a 30 minute blog post per day. I called this my reflection in “imperflection.” As I was reading others thoughts about Lent, I was delighted to come across the #Muslims4Lent movement championed by the website Eid.Pray.Love.

I quickly tweeted back the idea of #Christians4Ramadan…

Christians4Ramadan

You might think this endeavor would be a natural fit for a woman who meditates to Sufi poetry and has a babysitter who teaches her kids Arabic. But I fear that this “Month of Blessing” as Ramadan is called, will necessitate more than a few sun-up sacrifices on my part.

First and foremost, I might rock an abaya, but I’m not sure I should rock the title “Christian” with equal zeal. I mean, the Unitarians would probably have me.  I like to hang (and drink) with the Episcopals. The Jesuit Volunteers have let me pursue Social Justice with their crew. My Catholic husband (and baptized children) don’t give me a hard time…but Christian? Not in the born again bible belt kind of way that would bring my parents peace in their sunset years.

And then there’s the folks I love on the OTHER side of the spectrum. My agnostic and atheist besties. Like my soulmate Meg who (according to us AND a weird Facebook algorithm) I will grow old with once we are both widowed in our 80’s. She is a scientifically minded, ornithology loving, AP environmental science teacher who I’m pretty sure didn’t read that “Religion for Atheists” book I bought her.

This is my Spectrum. Where do I plot #Christian4Ramadan on that line?

For this reason I’m happy to promote  other folks less ambivalent and more certifiably Christian than me. Like Francis Ritchie a Methodist minister in Aukland or Jeff Cook, a Colorado pastor who explains definitively why he’s “waging peace” in the month of Ramadan.  If you are Christian-ish and looking for a theologically justifiable reason to fast in solidarity with our Muslim brothers and sisters, try this on for size:

“I am not interested in fasting this month for ascetic reasons. I am not converting to Islam. I will embrace the self-sacrificial practices of others around the world because Jesus reminds me that it is those who hunger that will be filled, that the meek alone will inherit the earth, and that those who make peace will be called children of God.”

As far as my aspirations and inspirations for this… I will definitely utilize the time to write and reflect on the many moments that have shaped my soul and psyche. Some of the reflection will be spiritual in nature. Much will be absurdly and authentically (hopefully NOT offensively) secular.

For example, I know for certain I will need to talk about Bacon. I mean….it’s gonna happen.

I don’t have anything like the plan I did for Lent. I can pretty much guarantee things are going to get messy. I’m certain I’m going to fall off the wagon.  I’m fearful that the Facebook friends I love on BOTH ends of the belief spectrum will unfollow me because of the patchwork quilt of cognitive dissonance that keeps me warm at night…but others want to throw in the wash or throw out altogether.

Despite these anxieties. This is one of those moments I’m taking on faith.

You looking at me Muhammad?

Ramadan?

Or Rama-nah?

Rama-yep.

Allah (and Jesus and Buddha and Missouri) be merciful.

That goes for the rest of you, too.