“No had never been an option. “Just do it,” she said, “and don’t be what you’re not.” (Tan Le)
There are two things I hope I never forget, family and family. My birth family combined first and fifth generation Americans resulting as you might expect in some lack of understanding or appreciation by certain members. I learned of this retrospectively in the listening to our stories as told especially at holidays.
Birth families while so formational need not, and I believe, should not determine or limit our understanding of who we are. I’ve been reminded this past week how knowing another’s story can lessen the fear of the other when I took the time to listen to Tan Le’s 2011 TEDx talk, My Immigration story. Tan Le’s story while much different from my father’s parent’s story who came from Ireland gave me an appreciation of other immigrants struggles maybe much more challenging than that of my grandparents.
So much of the rhetoric of the past nine months leaves out the stories that inform true understanding. Struggles, challenges (crosses) along with triumphs and joy make us who we are. My family story like Tan Le’s while totally different is at the same time totally the same.
I just wonder maybe if we spent more time, sharing our stories and less time explaining how we are different, maybe we’d be more understanding, but then that probably wouldn’t sell news programs. Happy holidays and happy listening and sharing.
Dan O’Donnell, a layman has covenanted with the Chicago Community. In addition to the standard covenant, Dan promises to work at connecting all partners known and unknown, to a conscious following the the way of Jesus, the way of the cross which Dan believes transforms all failure, democratizing the human journey