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I'll Meet You in the Middle

middle
“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."
 —Edith Wharton


I've Been Thinking...

Happy May! 

Can you believe it’s already May? The speed at which life is moving this year feels both rapid and slow at the same time. I, for one, am trying my darndest to hold that paradox. I don’t want others to aggressively push me head-on into a post-vaccinated world. I want to take my time to sit with the changes that are unfolding and listen.

I listened attentively this week to President Biden detail his sweeping historic plan to put our country back on track. It’s a huge agenda that includes tackling child poverty, racism, gun reform, police reform, climate change, crumbling infrastructure, and our own polarization. Biden ended his speech by reminding us that he needs all of us to play our part in saving our democracy, protecting our democracy, and showing the world we can all come together to do so. It’s time for us to take notice and get moving. I’m ready.

I also took time to notice the rare pink moon this week. Wasn’t it beautiful? I used it as an opportunity to write down my wishes, one of which is to be more present. My older brother Bobby got another turn around the sun this week (thank God) as he celebrated his birthday with me. He told me his wish this year is to be back at my table with the people he loves. It’s a wish that is simple, profound, and true.

I also paid attention this week to the words of Tyler Perry. For me, he was the best thing about the Oscars this year. His speech is worth reading, listening to, and absorbing. In accepting the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, Perry took to the stage to plead with all of us to drop judgment. He pleaded with us to stop hating one another and to meet in the middle. His invitation reminded me of everything I envision when I speak about The Open Field: a place out beyond fear, shame, guilt, hate, expectation, and judgment. 

Perry said: “My mother taught me to refuse hate. She taught me to refuse blanket judgment... I refuse to hate someone because they're Mexican or because they are black or white, or LGBTQ. I refuse to hate someone because they're a police officer. I refuse to hate someone because they are Asian. I would hope that we would refuse hate.” 

He went on to dedicate his humanitarian award to anyone who wants to stand in the middle with him. “That’s where healing happens,” he said. “That’s where conversation happens. That’s where change happens. It happens in the middle.” 

Amen to the magical middle—a place out beyond hate of any subgroup of people. Yes, yes, yes! Call it whatever you want—you can call it The Open Field like I do, or whatever speaks to you. The important thing is that you envision that middle and do all you can to walk yourself there.

So many people disparage the middle, yet I believe it is where most of us find ourselves. The fringes scream at us saying, “You can't be in the middle. You have to decide. You’ve got to choose.” I don’t believe that for a second.

 What I loved about Tyler Perry’s speech is that he spoke about choosing the middle. He invited us to meet him there, and to live, work, speak, and exist in that space. The middle isn’t a place of weakness, like many want to believe. It’s a place of our own choosing. It is a place populated by warriors and good servant leaders who lead from their hearts and whose mission is to move humanity forward. People of different faiths whose religion is love, not destruction or hate.

It’s a place to be open. It’s a place where you can learn and be brave enough to unlearn in a profound way. It takes strength to stand in the middle because you are willing to hear others, you are willing to listen, to notice, to be. 

Everyone I heard this week spoke of the same fundamental desire. They issued an invitation of belonging. They asked each of us to be a part of their vision. Everyone in The Sunday Paper today is issuing their own invitation to us as well. Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry are giving us permission to ask ourselves about our own trauma. They are inviting us to heal. Justin Baldoni invites us into a conversation about masculinity and gender roles and old belief systems. Tara Brach invites us to be joyful for no reason other than the fact that we are alive. Derek DelGaudio invites us into the very definition of who we are.

They are all inviting us to drop judgment and hate of ourselves and others. In one way or another, they are all inviting us to this conversation of healing and of growth—spiritual growth, emotional growth, and political growth. I hope you will take each of them up on their invitation.

As I look forward to what I refer to as The Open Field, I’m excited to imagine all of these guides in it. They are calling me and you forth. They are asking each of us to meet them beyond hate, beyond judgment, and beyond gender. They are asking what happened in our lives to make us the way we are, and they are telling us that we are okay and that it will be okay.

They are telling us that we are safe, we are seen, we are beyond judgment, and we are beyond hate. I love that.

I’m sure my brother Bobby’s dream is fundamentally the same as yours: who doesn’t want to find themselves at the table surrounded by people who love you, don’t judge you, and who accept you and see you for who you are?

President Biden is right: America is an idea. It’s a great big experiment. So are our lives. We each get to show up in both. In truth, we must show up. It’s the only way to move forward.

So, show up. Meet in the middle. Listen. Take notice. Be willing to face what happened. Be brave enough to grow. Be part of the idea of you, and of us as a whole. It’s a beautiful calling.


I’ll see you in The Open Field.

Love,

Maria

PRAYER OF THE WEEK                                                                               

Dear God, may we refuse judgment, refuse hate, and recognize that most of us live in the middle. May we meet each other there. Amen.

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