My Dear Friends,
As a child, it was my understanding that if I wasn’t right, I wasn’t going to survive. Those were the rules. At home, in school, at the playground, I had to have the right answers and agree with the powers that be, parents, teachers, bullies… or else.
As an adult and a citizen of the United States of America, I realized I didn’t have to or want to agree with everything or everyone. I found places and people where I felt safe enough to agree to disagree. What a blessing.
Over the last few years, I feel like I am regressing. Once again, my survival is based on choosing the RIGHT people and the RIGHT answers. And let me tell you, if I am going to regress, I’m going all the way and have me a temper tantrum.
I have noted the movie musical 1776 before. During the Second Continental Congress of the not yet born United States, representatives of the original 13 Colonies gathered in Philadelphia to issue a Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. Oh, my dear friends, you want to hear what disagreement and differences of opinions and varied interests both personal and communal sound like? Tune into this movie. From June 7, 1776 to July 4, 1776, the delegates from each State, alternately stamped their feet, threatened, cajoled, shouted, cursed, voted over and over, searching for the consensus necessary to pass the Declaration.
As violently as they disagreed, no one pulled out a musket or brandished a sword or brought in a mob, to silence the debate.
I must admit the Original Sin of this Declaration Convention was the inability of the Congress to remove forever the stain of slavery, which is and always will be a plague on this nation regardless of the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments. Discussion of which requires a far more in depth exploration of race relations in this country than these words intend.
What is it about having to be right that really screws up a person’s personhood? Do we all bring forward from childhood the fear that if we are not right, if we don’t belong to the right group, if we don’t equate righteousness with God, like Mel Brooks’ 2,000 Year Old Man, the Angel From Death will fly in our window and no necklace of garlic is gonna save any of us.
How do I make sense of our human frailties gone awry? When last we met, I shared the story of Ms. and Mr. Robin and the nest they built in the eaves of my porch. I have been diligently observing their progress. Ever ready with my vocal cords and scarf to shoo predators away from my rent-free tenants. I watched as the mama moved from egg laying, to egg sitting, and papa stood guard taking on all alien enemies… including me. I even stopped going through my front door. I didn’t want to be responsible for an anxious mama. We all know anxious mothers make anxious children.
Every time Mama flies out for a little R&R, I take a quick peek, and then one day, blue eggs begin to appear. While Mama sits on the eggs, Papa and me do the expectant parent parade.
At last! The babies hatch!
A few scattered feathers pulsing away as life takes hold. I am transported. The program of searching for food and feeding the babies begins. It is beyond anyone’s imagination how these parents work in tandem and harmony. The mama sits to keep them warm, as the papa flies off in search of food. The papa stands guard while Mama does her food turn. All happens without any discussion about who did what when and whose turn it is.
A thought occurs to me. I am not sure about the mating game for Robins, probably less complicated without the internet. Pregnancy and delivery… lets not even discuss it. I get it. Humans are more complicated than birds. Really? Are they? Well, goodness knows, sometimes I get the feeling that this is really our job. Making life more complicated. It’s not as if birds, e.g. animals, don’t have rules. Their rules for survival are as defined and important as ours. However, animal rules are instinctual. As humans evolve, our animal instincts take a back seat to society rules.
Whoa! Did I just say a mouthful? Do I mean depending on who imparts the rules for my survival is how I will behave and think and be???
The question is not to be right or not to be. The more important question is, who am I really listening to inside my head? Me…? Or those voices that do not belong to me.
From all my observations, a robin is a robin is a robin. Furthermore, they don’t need to be right to fly. They only need to be free.
What about it, my friends… Does that apply to us human animals as well???
What do you think ???