My People

My People
My matched set of grandchildren - Oliver and Cosette

Sunday, February 20, 2011

If I was born in a different time.. would I have colored outside the lines

It's odd how much can happen even though the scenery doesn't change much....

I'm so grateful for facebook. It has given me a second chance to build better relationships with people I took for granted when they were in my life the first time. It has given me a chance to meet people who are going thru things that are different... different geography, different weather, different politics, different beliefs... it makes me feel so connected with the world.

I have been watching movies all weekend. I love old movies... I love the clothes, the decor, the habits, mannerisms, speech patterns. It's amazing to see how much we have evolved.

I watched a movie this morning that talked about Women's suffrage. Who would I have been 100 years ago? Would I have colored inside the lines? Would I have allowed my husband to have full reign over me. Gosh. I really doubt it. Although my fundamental foundation of faith, stubborness, independence would have likely been a part of me whenever and wherever I had lived... I also really hate conflict and confrontation. I probably would have been a secret suffragee. (spelling?)

Who would I have been in the face of segregation? Would I have dared in that time to love a man with a different skin color? A friend recently described his coffee preference by saying, "I like my coffee like I like my women- blonde and sweet"... I couldn't let it go... I said, "and I like my coffee like i like my men - strong and black"... teehee. I'm ashamed that when I first got to know Bear better as a single girl, I commented to a friend, "he would be perfect for me if he was white" and she said, "then he's perfect for you"... I have never forgotten that admonition... and I know that my heart grew much larger by realizing that friends come in all colors, shapes and sizes.

Of course... in the end... there were (and still are) too many obstacles... color being only one of them. Not because MY family wouldn't accept him. I have a sister in law who is black... and I have a niece, two nephews and a grand nephew who are of mixed race. We love them all the same as we do the ones who are pale white and freckled. What kind of family would we have been fifty years ago?

His family, however, would have a harder time accepting me. And I don't blame them. His father is well into his nineties... what kind of world did he see? I wonder what kind of injustice he faced... and his father before him? I imagine there were things that happened that were hard to forget. Even now, as his memory is fading and his mind isn't as sharp, I bet those old memories, that old intuition and suspicion lingers.

What would the world have thought of me a hundred years ago as a twice divorced woman? Or would I have been divorced? Would I be stuck in a loveless, frightening place with either one who had no capacity for sobriety? Or would I be held captive with an abusive situation until I finally did succeed in taking what I saw as the only way out?

Medically... where would we be? I know that my brother would be raising two little girls by himself because without medical intervention - drastic, life saving surgery wouldn't have been available to save Angie's life after Jamie was born. Where would I be without the kind of intervention that discovered and diagnosed my back problems? Would my dad have survived cancer? Would my mother have lost her sight? Would I have become obese if my life were physically harder? Would we have eaten better? Would there have been a kidney infection or pneumonia that would have killed me without antibiotics?

And I wonder... should the Lord leave me here... leave us all here for another 40 years or so... what will this world become? Will democracy be completely set aside for socialism or communism? It certainly feels like we're headed in that direction. More and more is taken from those who have... and given to those who don't. Would it be a better world if those who don't have had to work harder to get... and those who do have could be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to help their neighbor? Would people be more responsible if they faced a debtors prison or a work house? Would employers be more willing to hire if they didn't face such huge taxes and labor laws and union agreements? Did the pendulum swing too far?

Will there come a day where you can buy alcohol on Sunday in Georgia? Will there come a day when same sex marraige holds no stigma in the same way that mixed race marriages are no longer such a big deal? Will Christianity continue to be so strongly disdained... or worse? Will we lose our right to believe what we believe? Will the genteel manners of my grandmother and her sister - the Steel Magnolias - will they become as old fashioned as a horse and buggy? Will we respect the past so as not to repeat it? Will we honor our roots? Or will we forget where we come from.

I love the show "Who Do You Think You Are" that comes on Friday nights. This past Friday they showed Rosie O'Donnell... and it was amazing to see that in just a matter of three or four generations her family went from poor Irish who lived in a workhouse and then immigrated to America to the amazing success and prosperity that Rosie has found. My great-grandfather was a doctor in Atlanta but I don't know that you could have considered him wealthy. I know my grandmother had a decent childhood without want... yet struggled as a single mother, just like me. Her life is comfortable now... her second marriage left her more financially stable. Her sweetheart who just passed away also included her in his will. But she carried a great heartbreak and disappointment over the years... her first husband turned out not to be who she thought he was. She rebounded...

I know that God doesn't make mistakes. I know that who we are and when and how we live is by divine design, not by chance or happenstance. At least... that's what I believe.

That's why today... instead of lacing up my corset... or piling on the crinolines... I'm sitting here in comfort and ease, watching old movies, playing on the internet and thanking God for putting me here in this time and place.

Hope you are having a great weekend! Love and hugs!