Three Cs: Comfort, Choices, and Celebrations

Three Cs: Comfort, Choices, and Celebrations

Comfort.

I live in a world that is, by design, comfortable for me. I don’t come from wealth, but I have never worried about whether my basic needs—nor even most of what I want—would be met. I was raised in a kind and loving family. The American education system (public school, private liberal arts college, graduate school at a prestigious university) was a good fit for me. I am a White cisgender woman who came of age in the 80s and therefore have benefited from the feminist movement that made it much easier to be a White woman in our country. I am in a monogamous marriage with a cisgender man, so I have all the benefits of passing as heterosexual, even though that label doesn’t accurately describe my relationship history nor my self-image. I am in good health—physically, emotionally, mentally—and have access to resources to help me stay that way. I am comfortable, and with that comfort comes safety.

Choices.

My comfort and safety grant me a lot of choice. Choice about whether to step out of my comfort zone. Choice about where to risk my safety, as my safety is assumed. Choice about whether to even think about others’ comfort and safety. I am allowed these choices by virtue of my life situation. And I feel obligated, by virtue of my Unitarian Universalist faith, to make considered and informed choices that expand my worldview; that increase my sensitivity to others’ needs; that decrease others’ oppression and discrimination; and that cultivate world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

A choice I’ve been making recently is in the books I’m selecting to read for fun. Of course it’s important to read all those anti-racist non-fiction books that are now topping bestseller lists. But it’s equally important to seek out authors and lead characters in fiction who are BIPOC, transgender, or otherwise representative of those who are not typically represented in dominant culture.

In recent years I’ve enjoyed reading novels by N.K. Jemisin and Angie Thomas and Tomi Adeyemi and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In recent weeks I’ve read several novels that have exposed me to even more experiences and perspectives. Their authors and/or protagonists are genderqueer and/or immigrants from countries in Asia and/or Jewish. They are stories about love and coming of age and class and race and fitting in. And all of them are just fun.

Here are my five most recent for-fun reads:

  1. Something to Talk About, by Meryl Wilsner
  2. Girl Gone Viral, by Alisha Rai
  3. Parachutes, by Kelly Yang
  4. This is Kind of an Epic Love Story, by Kheryn/Kacen Callender
  5. Frankly in Love, by David Yoon

Celebrations.

Meanwhile, I am overwhelmed by how many Big Things are unfolding in our community, country, and world right now. Any one of them would be an appropriate topic for this space or a Sunday worship service. And it feels refreshing that it’s not all Bad Things, and that we actually have some things to celebrate, even when those celebrations subtly (or not so subtly) remind us how much oppression and injustice still exist among us.

We observed Loving Day last week, celebrating the anniversary of the 1967 U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling that invalidated all anti-miscegenation laws that remained U.S. states. On Friday, June 19, we celebrate Juneteenth, marking the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, and announced that the Civil War had ended and enslaved persons were now free (two-and-a-half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation). This month we celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride (and I do hope you’ll plan to attend our truly celebratory Pride worship service on Sunday morning, June 21, at 10am). This week we’ve learned of rulings from SCOTUS that protect rights of LGBTQ+ folx from employment discrimination and that protect the rights of undocumented immigrants who are served by DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). And daily I celebrate the news stories of young people who are leading in the fight to undermine white supremacy culture and patriarchy—leading in Howard County, leading in our nation, leading around the world.

I celebrate. Hope-fully.

In Community (C #4),
Paige

3 Comments

  1. Ken Stevens

    Speaking of the state anti-miscegenation laws, it wasn’t until 1967 that Maryland got around to abolishing the one that it had. The two delegates that represented Howard County at the time split on whether to keep it. The one who opposed abolition has a well-known name in Columbia and somewhere in my pile of papers I’ve got the roll call vote. At this point, I’d have to return to the library in the Legislative Services Building in Annapolis (whenever it opens again) to make another copy. I will say that the delegate who was by far the longest serving supporter of that law (Democrat Norman Stone of the Dundalk area in Baltimore County) retired as a State Senator in 2014. The current Baltimore County Executive (Johnny Olszewski Jr.) tried to succeed him in that conservative area, but lost to a Republican in the general election.

  2. Liz Barrett

    Paige, thank you for your thoughtful and incredibly thought-provoking “Three C’s…” I had a lovely peaceful read, with the birds chirping and the storm clouds trying to make a decision about the date if the afternoon. I feel fortunate indeed to be a member of your church.

  3. Bob Henig

    Paige,

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. One for each “C”.

    I opened this “in between Sunday’s” to read the day it arrived but did not get to actually read it until this morning. But I was determined to read it so it was never closed. Suzanne and I were in active attendance, sitting on our porch, as it was a truly beautiful Sunday morning, for this very special Pride service.

    A warm and full thanks and hug to you and all the others who spoke, shared stories, played music, sung, dropped stones and in general inspired us to become better human beings. It was an amazing and inspiring service and your words in this email (3 C’s) and those words shared at the service make me proud to be a part of the UUCC community here in Columbia working towards making the world a better place for everyone.

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