Beliefnet
Beginner's Heart

WrightSkidmoreFamilyReunionYou will notice, if you look at the picture, a dearth of men. There are the outlaws, w/ the exception of grandchildren, and a cousin. That’s it. Mine is a family of women, mostly. We talk about ‘the aunts’ — my mother and her three sisters — and ‘the sisters’ — my three sisters & me. My grandmother was one of five sisters (and two brothers, but we don’t always even get their names correct!). And that’s just my maternal side — my father had four sisters, as well.

In other words, I grew up w/ a LOT of female input. And about zilch male. My dad worked overseas, and my grandfathers were both dead. There were some uncles, but they weren’t very active w/ little kids.

How does this matter to beginner’s heart, you’re wondering??

It’s hard to get only one side of the story. Which is what is happening in much of America today. When you only see/ hear one side of the story, you can bet it’s … well, one-sided.

My mother’s ‘side’ was that she raised us by herself, virtually. My father was almost always gone: stationed overseas, fighting a war, working for the government. But years later, I began to see my father’s side: cut off from the raising of his four daughters by his job — really the only job he knew how to do. A man awash in girlie stuff, that poor war hero!

Today, it’s black vs. white, rich vs. middle class vs. poor. It’s very hard to believe, if the police look like you, and have always been helpful, that they are verrry bad guys to many many African Americans. If you don’t know how hard it is to make it on minimum wage, you may well think that folks on food stamps are just spongers.

I don’t know when I began to see the ‘other side’ of matriarchy. Which is the ways in which men, too, are done in by the system. Women aren’t the only done-to, done-by. Perhaps it was when I began to watch my beloved. Perhaps it was the birth of my two sons.

All I know is this: if everyone you know looks like/ sounds like/ worships like you? Make new friends. You need to get out more. Because chances are, you only see one side of a very round world.

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