Gran's Apple Butter Blog

February 22, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Sunglasses (4/VI)

Filed under: Book Series,Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 2:52 pm

Chapter 4 ~ Sunglasses
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

Where we choose to set up home base shapes many other factors as well. This determines much of what we’ll be exposed to in our most formative years, from the society and culture we’re born into to the time and place we appear on this tiny little planet.

How we grow up, the food we eat, the religion we practice, the way we’re educated, and how our parents vote – the ways we do whatever it is we do – we think these things are right and normal and natural. We don’t realize that someone on the other side of the planet – or maybe even just down the road – thinks the exact same thing about their food and religion and economic structure, which may be quite different from ours. In a funny way, Gran said, these things create a pair of sunglasses we’ll wear all our lives – the cultural lens through which we’ll view our world.

You know what culture is, don’t you? It’s what everyone else has – not me. I’m normal, but you’ve got culture. Umm… Nope. Wrong answer, Gran said. We may think what “other people” do is culture, but we’ve all got culture, and it’s not a four letter word, no matter how much we try to make it into one. But it’s hard to see the sunglasses on your own face until you find a mirror.

Why do we assume our sunglasses are the best ones? I don’t know if I’ll ever understand this, and Gran didn’t have a good explanation either, other than to guess that it probably got back to our old egos again. They get us in a heap of trouble sometimes. And then just imagine – we go to war over these things – we kill people, we watch them die by the thousands over things that, if we dug deeply enough, we might find we really don’t see all that differently.

But until we look at our own sunglasses and take the time to do some digging, we’ll never find that out. Gran said we have this big ol’ fear inside that comes out as anger or hatred or jealousy or judgment and stops us from asking these questions. We look at others and see that they talk or act differently – they wear different sunglasses – and we feel threatened, so we shoot first and never stop to consider that we’re aiming at our own brother or sister, just like in the Civil War. You see, that’s what being One means – we’re all family, no matter what sunglasses we’re wearing.

We misbehave in the worst of ways, and then to make ourselves feel better, we try to rope in our friends, who, naturally, are only those born in a similar set-up, because otherwise they’d be more people with culture. We talk about how different these people are, like Mikey talked about those grown-ups. You know: Them. They’re backwards, they can’t help it, they were just born wrong, and we don’t want anything to do with how they are. And if they feel too threatening, well, we know how to take care of that, now don’t we?

SHAME ON US, Gran said. What kind of behavior was that among civilized folks, much less family? We know better, ‘cause we learned better than that on the first day of kindergarten! Why, if she had her way, she’d make us all climb out of our little sandbox and go take a long time out ‘til we got our heads clear enough to start thinking straight again. ‘Til we were willing to be friends and play nice and share our toys.

The more questions we ask, Gran said, and the more we share our toys, the more we’ll find we have in common. It’s beautiful, really, finding out how much we share with every other human being on this planet. We all came from the same place, Gran said, and sooner or later, we’ll all go back there – back home, you know. Once we get there, we’ll look back on all the trouble we put ourselves through with these silly little divisive illusions, and we’ll just laugh, thinking how silly we were, how young and headstrong and how very wrong we were – and yet how sure we were in our ignorance.

Such is the way of youth, Gran said, and so can be the way of the wise – to look with love and laughter and understanding at the poor decisions we make sometimes, and to know that next time, we’ll do better, and the world will feel like a safer, friendlier, better place – more like home.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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