One Sun

I’ve just finished a lovely book called Same Sun Here by Neela Vaswani and Silas House and I’d like to share some thoughts.

The book is a series of letters written between penpals–an Indian immigrant girl in New York City and a boy in rural Kentucky. And they’re middle schoolers and the book fits with that but it also had some good things to say for non-middle schoolers such as myself. It talked about some of the more obvious things: immigration, racism, Obama’s first election. But also a diversity of other topics, from mountaintop removal coal mining to pets to eviction to mental illness (obliquely).

But the title really got the gist for me. We all live under the same sun. Difference is often what makes friendships interesting but we’re all much more similar than we realize. To deny difference is blind but surely denying the manifold ways in which we are the same is folly of equal, if not greater, magnitude.

There’s been a couple moments recently, and even just this week, when I’ve been really astonished and humbled and honored to witness people earnestly and respectfully seeking to learn more about different people and how to affirm those differences while acknowledging the similarities. Empathy is a cool thing.

Also, here’s a cat update for you. Some snuggles from the desert kitties.

 

This week, I’ve been really thinking a lot about my current joblessness. What I would be willing to do. What I would refuse to do. What are things that I might have to just suffer through. Mostly, I’ve been wallowing a bit because I feel like I’ve paid my dues. Yes, I only worked at Target briefly. Yes, Korea was only one year. But I feel like I’ve pretty much had my fill of doing jobs I don’t want to do. And I feel like that’s kind of justified; I do, after all, have a graduate degree.

I feel like somehow I’m just not applying to the right places, I’ve somehow missed the obvious jobs for me, that I haven’t been looking hard enough, long enough, desperately enough. I feel like I’m really trying. I’ve been pretty promiscuous about where I’ve sent my résumé. It’s a little discouraging. I know I haven’t been at it for that long but still.

On the plus side, I have at least received a couple formal letters declining to hire me, which is more than I can usually say.

The other thing is, of course, what to do if I get an offer at a place I really don’t want to go. I know it’s sort of a thing that you have to pay your dues, the your first job isn’t usually one that you love. But here’s my thing. A) that’s not really a reason, there are not actual dues to pay, you’re just resigned to young people having jobs they hate which I think is dumb and B) can you quantify these dues for me? did Korea count for nothing? how many jobs, how many years until I am allowed to work somewhere I enjoy working?

In summation, capitalism sucks and old people are mean. A bit of a rant, just let me vent. If you know me in person, you don’t need to check up on me, I was just having a moment. I’m like 83% okay which is very fine. Seriously. Don’t worry about it.

Anyway. Here’s the finale to this round of Songs Keegan’s Been Listening To. Maybe YouTube one or two if you feel so led. If not, move on with your life. Until next week.

  1. Glorious – Macklemore feat. Skylar Grey
  2. From Nowhere – Dan Croll
  3. Netflix Trip – AJR
  4. Back of the Car – Miike Snow
  5. Lost in Japan – Shawn Mendes
  6. Science Love Song – ASAP Science
  7. Making Money – Ben Rector
  8. Delicate – Taylor Swift
  9. Mystery of Love – Sufjan Stevens
  10. Torches – X Ambassadors
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Mend Our Shoes

Major shoutout to my sister who, in the midst of studying for her physical therapy qualification exam, has been my biggest dissertation encourager. We celebrate the little victories and send each other lots of gifs (no, people who don’t know what gifs are, that’s not a typo). Also, shoutout to Evie for some stellar writing advice and some cat-based encouragement to write write write.

Evie's Cat2016-7-14

I’ve heard it said, on occasion, that when you’re angry with someone or don’t understand why they’re acting in a particular way you should walk a mile in their shoes. Right? It’s a pretty well known saying. Pretty sure almost all you readers will have heard it. Pretty sure almost all Americans will have heard it. And I think most would agree that it’s very sage advice, you know, for general good things. Yet here we are. No walking. Ruined shoes.

 

A friend of mine recently wrote, in response to events in the US, “Stop focusing on who’s right and start righting what’s wrong.” I heartily agree. In doing some other reading, I came across a reference to the Westminster Larger Catechism, passed by the Church of Scotland in 1648. And, you may think, that pertains to racial injustice in the US today because…? Let me tell you. When going through the Ten Commandments, it not only asks the content of them, but also a variety of details about what they mean. The sixth commandment is Thou shalt not kill. Importantly, before asking what sins are prohibited by the commandment, it asks what duties are required by it (Q 135) and here is what it says:

The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves and others by resisting all thoughts and purposes, subduing all passions, and avoiding all occasions, temptations, and practices, which tend to the unjust taking away the life of any; by just defence thereof against violence, patient bearing of the hand of God, quietness of mind, cheerfulness of spirit; a sober use of meat, drink, physic, sleep, labour, and recreations; by charitable thoughts, love, compassion, meekness, gentleness, kindness; peaceable, mild and courteous speeches and behaviour; forbearance, readiness to be reconciled, patient bearing and forgiving of injuries, and requiting good for evil; comforting and succouring the distressed and protecting and defending the innocent.

Like, I really don’t know what else to say. I had written a whole thing this week, but when I came across this it all seemed unnecessary. This is why black lives matter (too). We are to mourn with those who mourn (Romans 12:15).

So let’s go back to that old phrase. Walking a mile in another’s shoes. Many of us have lost that ability, if we ever truly  had it. When we see the tattered shoes of another (because we rarely see the frightful state of our own) we have little inclination to step into them. Good thing I know someone who delights in mending our shoes.

My heart is sore. Facebook, that great well of loud opinions, has given me enough heartache to last for a while, and also shown me that many others have spoken much more eloquently than I. This post is inadequate, as am I in writing it. So I will finish with just a little prayer, in faith that prayer changes things.

God, help us be courageous enough to admit when we’re wrong. Help us be compassionate enough to do something to help. Teach us to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with You. When we are tired of walking in our own lives, much less the lives of others, mend our shoes. And help us mend one another’s. You are the Great Mender and to you I entrust my heart and this world. Amen.