Did you watch the television show Cagney and Lacey? One of the stars of that show is Tyne Daly. She’s starring on Broadway in a musical called It Shoulda Been You. She made a curtain speech on Friday after the performance that just blew me away. I mean, yes, it has been a week of being blown away by the circumstances of the United States - SCOTUS rulings, the South Carolina shooting, and the historic eulogy given by President Obama at Reverend Clementa Pinckney’s funeral. The Affordable Care Act staying in place, Congress signing off on trade bills, not to mention the horrendous attacks in Tunisia, France, and Kuwait. It. Is. A. Lot. It has made me feel all sorts of things; extreme grief, extreme joy. It’s confusing, right? Celebrating civil rights for my gay friends while feeling the smack of racism. I couldn’t imagine sharing those feelings here with all of you. I'm not black. I’m not gay. I don’t live in those countries, and I’m pretty clueless about the trade agreement and how my insurance could have changed. These things are happening around me, not TO me, not about me.
It would appear that I wouldn’t have anything personal to write. Well, Mother Teresa’s quote was recently shared with me, “If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.” And it was pointed out by this sharer that when things happen to other communities, there is a ripple effect, to the degree these things do happen to you/us/me. We are all connected. If we strip away color, race, gender, sexuality,…pain is pain, and we can all relate to pain, hurt, suffering, and strife. Wise words.
The conductor of that Broadway show, who is a friend of a friend of mine on Facebook posted a video of that speech and it got really personal. Ms. Daly shared, “On the 26th of June in 1966, I got married. That was forty-nine years ago and I had black hair then, and he had black skin. Our marriage was against the law in the United States of America in seventeen states. The following year, the Supreme Court in a case wonderfully called ’Loving vs. The State Of Virginia’ took down those laws saying that they believed that was a wrong thing to do. Forty-nine years ago, I mean, to the day since that happened, they took down a bad law that said people who love each other can’t get married.” She went on to speak of her pride for our country, the Supreme Court, and that we all gained a family in this ruling. It was a special speech.
When I watched the video of the speech I was shocked. I researched that case. People went to prison for marrying outside of their race?! I have had my fair share of interracial relationships and easily could have married someone of color. I was in the wedding of one of my dearest friends Erika, who is African American, when she married a white man two years ago. Forty-nine years ago she would have been locked up. There was no easy - it was a fight then, a risk, a crime! That dear friend was also a housemate of mine and I remember one year we sat and watched Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on MLK day. We were huddled around a laptop reliving history. Similarly, this week I was living history as I sat with my present housemate, perhaps my closest friend in the world, a black man as well as a gay man, and we watched the eulogy of Reverend Pinckney. (This friend is also the wise sharer of the Mother Teresa quote and point of view.)
There’s a phrase I used to use all the time. “I get it.” I think we all throw it around in some context or another. “Money is tight…I get it.” “Life is hard…I get it.” “You’re frustrated…I get it.” You know this phrase, right? I had a boyfriend who lovingly said to me, “Lisa, every time you say those words…’I get it,’ you actually stop getting it. You close yourself off to what you might experience if you stayed open. When we say I get it, it’s like we close a door because we already believe we understand a situation.” I try really hard to avoid that phrase. I try to stay open. I could never claim to know what it is like to be gay or to grasp the impact of this law enabling them to marry their loved ones. I couldn’t possibly understand what my African American friends feel when they open the paper every day to read about someone of color being shot. I’ll never get it. But I do know this, my mind is permanently open because of the years I shared and continue to share with these friends in my home. I have been gifted the experience of witnessing their lives and living my own, exposed to their perspective and their history.
New York City celebrated Gay Pride this weekend and in light of the recent SCOTUS ruling, the party will be going for quite a while. Gay Pride. We think we get it right? We hang the rainbow flag, donate money to our favorite charities, brag about being a straight ally, enhance our Facebook profile picture with the rainbow filter. (How freaking awesome is it to see an explosion of rainbows though?!) Those actions are really great, but they kind of just puff up our ego, make us feel like we are participating. Even me writing about having black friends and black boyfriends, how proud I am to have a permanent open mind because of them. It’s kind of gross to even have to delineate my white friends from my friends of color. Sigh. It’s gross that any of my friends have to fight for equal rights or feel less than or live in fear of being bullied or even killed. It’s all kinds of horrible, this egoic pride and me trying to make sense of it on this blog.
And then I read this:
“The truest expression of pride is not ego but openness. Pride is not fighting, but keeping a channel open and letting your authentic self move through it. It's not trying to be fearless when you are afraid, or fine when you're not fine. When you keep the channel open you are available to it all, and you can offer something straight from your heart to the world.
So if you stay open, everything you need to offer will flow right through you and come out shining. It will give you deep satisfaction (pride), the world will embrace it, and it will be divine because you'll have this sneaking suspicion that somehow, it didn't even come from you.”
My friend Katie, whom I met in India this year, (and is the wizard behind my All Good Things logo of my handwriting,) posted that paragraph. She attended a meditation workshop at my favorite yoga studio in New York City, Yogamaya, called Divine Pride. Those beautiful words were from her notes from the day. Somehow they give me relief, these words. They give comfort to my frustration, my confusion between extreme joy and extreme grief. I hope however this past week’s events effected you that you read these words with an open mind and an open heart. Even though I was really trepidatious to write this week, my hope is that because I stayed open, everything I needed to offer flowed right through me and shined a little light... Thank you so very much for reading, please share this post and say hi in the comments if you found your picture in the rainbow collage!
This week there is no room for a real recipe, and frankly, no real need, right? But in the spirit of All Good Things - food for thought and food for your kitchen, here's a little inspiration for a quick summer salad. It's summer! Hooray!!!
Beet And Peach Salad
Here’s an easy dish that combines sweet and savory. It looks fancy, but it is so simple. There isn’t even a recipe! I had some extra beets when I made the stained glass beets a few months ago so I decided to make this salad and I had my food photographer, Cheryl Stockton, snap a quick picture. Slice a peach thinly on a mandoline to match the beet slices from that recipe. Alternate them in a pattern on a plate placing basil leaves in between the beets and peaches. I put toasted walnuts in the center and drizzled with balsamic glaze. Season the plate with salt and pepper.