I've been listening to this voice. The one that says, "Live courageously. The water is sometimes raging, but live courageously anyways!" It led me to a local coffee shop, Dash Coffee Roasters. Yesterday morning, I entered with a novel (The Purple Door District) written by a local indie author, Erin Casey, and was astounded by this gorgeous artwork by Aubree Pinckney. The vibrant colors of the acrylics washing over the canvas carried my breath away - and I knew it would be perfect for me to include in this blog post. Water is a theme that is reoccurring in the metaphor of my life right now - and that voice, the one that told me to give myself a gift this year and take care of myself by moving away from the security of a full-time job with benefits to pursue a writing career, led me to find another creative person. It brought me a connection, but I had to be brave enough to send the email. I had to ask if it was okay for me to include her art in my blog, because I felt the Universe, (God/fate-if you will), raging at me to be brave.
Being courageous is not my strength. I enjoy the security of the shallow waters of life, but just like the swimmers that I have supported with compassion, kindness, and patience to find their way to the "Deep Waters," I am taking a leap into a new adventure-one where I am diving deep into a place that I have never known. It's also a voice that told me to share my love for my children's school at the school board meeting on Monday night and thank the board for listening to the needs of the school. And it's the voice that is saying we need to have a conversation about inclusive language.
Language is POWERFUL. It can be used to build communities or to tear them apart. It can be used to share events of the past. It can be used to talk about the future. But what matters the most is how it is used in the present. It matters how we speak to others or about others so that they can be included in conversations.
When I attended a seminar in the fall of 2016 with Dr. Jamie Washington of The Washington Consulting Group, I was encouraged to understand the lens of privilege. In all of our interactions with others, there are times when we are in a position of privilege and there are times when we are in a position of marginalization.
In my life, I have a lens of privilege because of the peachy color of my skin. But, I also have a lens of marginalization because I am a woman and I am obese. I have a lens of privilege because I have a Master's Degree. But I also have a lens of marginalization because there have been times when my family has struggled financially. In each situation where we are blessed to have a position of privilege, it is our responsibility to show love to others that may be marginalized.
It's time to start having #inclusiveconversations. It's time to have conversations WITH those who are immigrants - here as refugees or seeking political asylum. It's time to have conversations WITH those who are part of the LGBTQI+ community. It's time to have conversations WITH those who have a unique ability. It's time to be inclusive and it's time to live courageously while the waters are raging.
Join me in using #inclusiveconversations to share about how you're seeking to understand and subscribe to this blog to read the upcoming posts:
Is the Water the Same?
The Sweetest Word In Any Language
Watch @inclusiveconversations on Facebook for events in the Cedar Rapids area.
To purchase art work by Aubree Pinckney, visit her at https://www.facebook.com/TickledPinckneyDesigns/.