Enter The Sanctuary [on Not So Flawed Wednesday]

This is an image of sanctuary. The back yard of dear friends, time spent together, taking precautions to be safe in a time of pandemic.

There’s more than one compromised immune system represented in this photograph. It is why we continue to meet outdoors. It is why, until we were vaccinated, we were careful to keep distance between us. How odd to honor the love of dear friends by inserting space between us. Our flip flops and sandals are stand-ins for a group selfie.

When our postal carrier came to the door to deliver a certified letter, she groused about the process for capturing the required signature, “We have to do this because of COVID,” she sneered, “even though there is no COVID.” We’ve learned not to push back on ignore-ance. I was reading about Brazil eclipsing the the over 500,000 deaths-mark when the doorbell rang. Kerri signed for the letter. She closed the door and we simply stared at each other. No words.

I delight in this photograph because, to me, it is slightly disorienting. If you had to guess which direction the photo was taken, you’d most likely guess blue. You’d be wrong. Perspective is just that – perspective. From my perspective, the photograph is upside-down. The photographer wears black flip flops.

We constantly locate ourselves in our stories. The location we choose is not passive or general. It is unique, dynamic. It gives us a point of view but does not afford us a lock on truth. Learning to question your unique perspective, to challenge your story-as-central, is an important growth step. It is maturation. Learning to question what you are told is an invaluable skill to develop.

As a lover of story, as a student of perspective, I am fascinated by the story-war raging in my nation. Politicians drape themselves in the flag, defending a violent insurrection on democracy, while demonizing and fearmongering BLM. Propaganda, hate-mongering and conspiracy theory is run amok and fueled by entertainment posing as news. Voter suppression laws, gerrymandering, stuffing the courts, all in the name of…what? The story of division. The dedicated maintenance of a half-story. A national story increasingly exposed as redacted. Why should a democracy work so hard to prevent a portion of its population from voting? To prevent its full history from being told? As we ask in the coaching world, “What’s underneath?”

Nations, like people, cannot grow until they look at the whole of their story, until all perspectives are voiced.

I’ve wandered back into the world of entrepreneurs and business. Each day I read or am shown the data on teamwork or the power of collaboration. The software-as-a-service world is dedicated to facilitating better communication, efficiency in sharing and collaborating, crossing disjointed platforms, and reaching into clouds where all are stronger as one than when in silos. I’m finding it intensely hopeful. Progress is calling us together. The economy is global as is the pandemic. We are in this together.

No one is healthy if all are not healthy. It’s the rule of the backyard, the honoring of dedicated friendship. My job is to protect you and yours is to protect me. It’s the story of the sandals and flip flops, the image of sanctuary, and, if not the yearning of this nation, it is the reality of this interconnected world.

read Kerri’s blog post about SANDALS

2 Responses

  1. I think each opposing group feels perplexed with regards to the vaccination; whether for or against. While I’ve lost friends and family to COVID, I will not get the shot. Most of them chose not to take the virus seriously or took their health for granted. I’m an essential worker, have worked through the whole pandemic. I still wear a mask and take all the precautions. I’m a pretty healthy 73 year old female but know that changes as I move forward through life. Half my family are vaccinated while the other half are not. We respect and do not challenge their decisions. I doubt other people look at you funny for wearing a mask however if so, they might also look at you funny for the way you dress, walk, laugh, etc. do you care? You sound like a great person and I enjoy reading both yours and Kerri’s posts. Whether you get the shot or not and whatever your reasons are for whichever you choose isn’t my concern. My concern is to do my part to protect us both and for me,not getting the shot is in my best interest and I owe no one an explanation. Thank you for always giving me food for thought.

    • Hi Libby,
      Thank you for sharing your thoughts and perspective. I believe – for me – the most important phrase you wrote is this: “My concern is to do my part to protect us both…” It is the essential and on this point we are in perfect alignment. It is what I am not seeing in a significant percentage of our population and it saddens me – and is, in the end, what I’m writing about. On a recent trip I had to take refuge in a bathroom stall to avoid being beaten by a man who took offense that I was wearing a mask. It’s not a matter of people looking at me funny (I’m an artist – that has been a lifelong nonchalance), it is, as you wrote, a matter of respecting the choices AND the safety of others in the community. The resistance that I hope I’m addressing is the violence and absence of caring for and considering the needs of others (vaccine or not). Personal responsibility and personal choice are not exclusions from community participation and responsibility – and I think that’s the conversation/consideration that we as a nation are wrestling with. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts – you’ve given me a good bit to think about and, after all, the exchange of thoughtful ideas and opposing points of view is what makes Kerri and I write.

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