It is when I am writing, when I am most distant from people, that I am most connected to the family of man, and I am overwhelmed in that larger connection.
The connection is most evident there as I ride the waves of words peering through the chance veil that separates and unites each man and woman across the world.
Each man and woman, separate bundles of electrons and emotion bumping into others and hundreds, each carrying the grief and joy of that day, all more alike than different yet convicted of a unique identity.
As each individual focuses on that separateness, on that individuality, it becomes the reality for that one person, and builds the walls and borders and boundaries that define his or her own reality.
No matter that those borders and boundaries are a construct of their own electrons and emotions rather than any physical reality, they become that very reality.
It is how we build our separateness that has defined the world we know.
And yet as I write these words now, peering through the thin veil that separates us, I am draw more to our connections than to our differences.
And I have been lead easily and willingly to this rare place by family and friends across the US, and by my wife Tracy, whose heart is more broad and open than any I have known.
She met, quite by chance, a young girl on a bus in Belize when she was serving in the Peace Corps. And Tracy tucked her into her heart, as is her way, and the years passed, and quite out of the blue Tracy received a letter from her last week.
Few children have the opportunity to finish high school in the villages of southern Belize, especially true for girls, often married at 15 or 16, wives and mothers by the time they are 19 or 20.
But this young girl was doing well at school, at the top of her class. She would be in 3rd Form next year, equivalent to our junior year in high school. And education is officially free through high school in Belize, but each family must still pay fees for books and uniforms at a cost of hundreds of dollars. Not a lot of money in the US, but the average daily income in that part of Belize is around $2 a day.
The young girl’s father had been able to come up with the fees for her other siblings and for her until this year, he had become ill and could not work. She wrote to Tracy out of desperation, ashamed to ask but yet wanting to continue her education.
We were more than happy to help.
Rutilia & Tracy, Belize, 2010
And in that effort, we thought it would be fun to enlist the help of family and friends to offer a hand to this young girl. ‘Fun’ isn’t really the right word, but as I sort words here, I am at a loss for the right word, so I use ‘fun.’ There are hard limits to language sometimes in capturing just the right emotion; all writers know this.
So we each, Tracy & I, sent out some emails, one of those group emails that show up so often they are almost an automatic delete, true?
But you didn’t delete it.
No, you did not.
You responded, and sent checks and we have been overwhelmed by your response.
And in a long-distance phone call, the young lady was near tears in her reaction to your generosity. We can easily fund this year and the next, and in our heart of hearts, hope we can encourage her on to higher education. She is worth it.
These are the times when my heart is near bursting with the kindness in this family of man.
And I know in these times of war and rumors of war and divisiveness between factions in these United States, it’s easy to look on the differences.
But here, in this one child now on to one more year of school, and then another, there is that hope to learn of the similarities across backyard fences and continents.
Thank you so much for giving my own heart ease.