i've been thinking about this for some time. this idea of intersecting lives and crossing boundaries. we all live in our own little part of the world to which we become accustomed (be it under a freeway, in a 2 room shotgun, or a 20 room mansion). and unless you stay inside all day, doing a whole lot of nothing and talking to no one, your life intersects with peoples' about whom you know nothing about...even if it's only through media like books, news, or internet.
i drove to 3rd ward the other day in my yuppy car to a meeting at project row houses - an organization you should know about if you don't already. i had caleb with me, who is the best meeting baby EVER, and i observed the people who were doing the work in my neighborhood as i drove out. although my neighborhood is somewhat diverse as neighborhoods go, it is largely middle class and white. most of the laborers, however, are working to lower class, black or hispanic. most of them probably live in places like 3rd ward. i thought about how everyday for 4 years i drove to south houston to teach kids whose parents were mostly painters, housekeepers, contractors, etc. in other words, they came to places like my neighborhood to work while i went to theirs. and no matter how uncomfortable i am with some of the implications of that, i know enough to recognize that we are teaching the kids in the hopes that they can one day move OUT of their neighborhood. or at least out of the cycle of poverty and lack of higher education.
driving that day it suddenly struck me as so...ironic (channel alanis) that we work in each others neighborhoods, but that we don't live in the neighborhoods in which we work. some of us because we can't afford to and some of us because we don't want to. it also struck me that people who work as housekeepers or child care takers probably know so much more about their employers' lives than the other way around. as in they fold their underwear. scrape their dirt. come to their intimate abodes and feed their children. i want to acknowledge that there are so many conversations about race, class, education...that could come from my observations. i have my own thoughts about each topic and more, and i am in no way intending to judge this observed "exchange," but it has most certainly wormed its way into my consciousness over the years. maybe the main point is to notice. notice others and how our lives intersect with so many who aren't like us and have different experiences just as relevant as ours. maybe if we notice more we will open the walls of our hearts more and begin to live with "loving kindness and compassion," in the words of my greatest spiritual teacher. in order to do that though, we must also begin to tackle the great inequities in our society and world - a topic so uncomfortable for those who have gotten so comfortable. so first just notice...then maybe the rest will unfold.