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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Family And Strangers



Women in refugee camp in Chad


Darfuri child with gunshot wound

Al Geer Camp for displaced persons bulldozed by Sudan government

Refugees in Menawashi Darfur refugee camp where 7,000 family members came within a few days

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Today, family members hurt me by simple betrayal behaviors while a person, no relation, made me feel special.

I thought about this throughout the day. The Family effect: Mostly, about the hurt, the anger, that moved from disbelief to rational acceptance of “that’s who THEY are” and how to handle it. Then I struggled with: Is this something to write in this public forum? I don’t really need to blog out my personal life to get things straight in my heart and mind, because I have written a private journal for the last 34 years. This thing with my “growing up” family today felt personal and private. But mostly because this was something that included someone in my life that I have so far chosen NOT to speak about on any of my blogs. I did ask his permission last night to talk about him here and he gave it to me, but still I’m not ready to cross that threshold today. So suffice it to say, I choose to share the part that I feel okay with in this public forum. The things I choose to share here have to pass some tests in my mind:
Is it my truth?
Am I okay with the people I talk about possibly “hearing” my words?
Would it maybe help someone else by hearing me say it?

The “no relation person” effect: This actually should have balanced out my day, but somehow the family stuff is always tougher to get a grip on. . . and get back my balance. I have a talk therapist, who is female, striking, smart and has been around the block enough to have some life experience wisdom - who validated my puzzling feelings about the family behaviors shaking my emotional stability. She put it this way, “they jerk the rug you’re standing on”. After hearing that, I had her repeat it – then thought yes, that’s what it feels like.

The person, no relation, was Dr. Nomate Kpea, my dermatologist. This doctor takes 3 and 4 months in advance to get an appointment. The thing is – he’s that special – so I do it. So do others. I don’t normally like doctors. But Dr. Kpea is lovable. He lives here in Rhode Island, but still goes back to his home country in Africa to perform his Chiefly duties, since his father passed away. He and I talk politics. His view is so international, not tunnel vision, and so well-informed. Today, he told me he recently spoke at the United Nations and has been asked to return to talk about the oil companies who irresponsibly go into Nigeria, do their extraction of oil and leave pollution behind.

When Dr. K walks in the room, he makes you feel good just with his wonderful exuberant personality. He knows of my activism work for Rwanda, Darfur, Chad. He walked in this morning, greeting me with “Have you talked to your African friends lately?” “How is it going saving the world, one person at a time?” When he left the room, he was telling everyone on his staff that I was saving the world one person at a time. When he wrote a generous check for fund raisers that I threw last summer for a women’s center in Nyamata, Rwanda, he wrote on the check “To Help Save the World”. And a personal note enclosed read “ May God be with you in the work to save the world in a small way. Love, Dr. Kpea”.

How is it that people met by chance in my life, see something in me, welcome it and make me feel blessed, humbled and special all at once and those who are family make me feel alienated and small?

I know I’m not unique in this.

I Thank the Universe for the Kindness of Strangers in my life.

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2 Comments:

At January 11, 2007 at 6:32:00 AM EST , Blogger sarah said...

"How is it that people met by chance in my life, see something in me, welcome it and make me feel blessed, humbled and special all at once and those who are family make me feel alienated and small?
I know I’m not unique in this."

I don't have any answers to your question. But I feel the same way. You are not alone.

 
At January 12, 2007 at 12:47:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...

Thank you Sarah, for leaving your comment. It always is heart-warming to know someone gets something I wrote.

 

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