“Heroes aren’t only in the movies.” This phrase stretches across my upper back on a long-sleeve t-shirt given to me by the Black AIDS Institute many years ago. I was part of the volunteer squad to help them with their annual fundraising gala and awards show. Strangely enough, a business trip to Chicago would prevent me from volunteering at the actual event, but I was able to help with a lot of the preparatory work. Unless my memory fails me, I was the only male volunteer that I encountered. That doesn’t feel true to me, but I don’t recall encountering any males besides Executive Director Phil Wilson’s quick visit. More men need(ed) to be of service.
Friday evening I shared my thoughts about sondering with two of my learning pod members as part of the Beloved Conversations Virtual curriculum. I do not know how familiar either of them was with this concept because my eyes were gazing upward at nothing in particular. I was communing with my ancestors and my intersecting and the various concentric circles of being and belonging. The gravity of this curricular experience propelled me above my normal and mundane view until I could see differently. I saw light and love. I saw energy pulsing, radiating, and flowing between everyone and everything. I saw our 7th UU principle—the interdependent web of all existence that we are all a part of—through more enlightened and mindful eyes. These two women and I were brought together for a powerful experience. This nurse practitioner and the immigration attorney of Japanese descent were discussing their ancestral experiences in the internment camps. I shared my memories of my familial encounters with oppressive law enforcement entities and the painfully limiting identities prescribed to those Hutchisons, Johnsons, and Lydes who came before me.