I remember that there was a time when I was younger when I would say that I was going home for the holidays. That meant that I was headed for Northern Idaho, where I lived during my three years of high school, and so even though I had lived in Alaska for most of my childhood, I did not have the same feeling towards it. My brother has lived in Idaho since shortly after I left, and my mother moved back there for the last fifteen years of her life. I remember returning to Idaho to visit her and my brother for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Since my mother died four years ago, I have not been going as often. My brother works in the Alaska oil fields, so he is gone half-time, so our schedules are only occasionally in sync for a visit. This was the first time in two years that I had made the trip to see him. Driving to Idaho gave me plenty of time to think, and that feeling of going home was still there.
As I thought about it, I started to have a nostalgic feeling. The picture above is of Lake Coeur d'Alene, with the forested hills covered with snow in the background. There is a simple beauty to it all. However, some nostalgia is quenched when I recognize the massive change in the area since I moved away. The restaurant I worked at has been torn down and replaced with a park. The apartment I moved into when I left my parent's house, where I experienced my first heady taste of real freedom, had also been torn down to be replaced by a more extensive set of condominiums.
Then I remembered why I left and how most were still valid. The overwhelming whiteness of the people here reminds me of how the pleasantness of the people is marvelous as long as you can reflect back to them what makes them comfortable. If my presentation does not fit their version of reality in race, culture, religion, politics, and of course sexuality, then I had a strong possibility of confrontation. My brother and I have worked out over the years where we don't go in our conversations (mainly about politics), but we are open and honest with each other in different areas of life and family. I love and respect him, so I don't cause waves among his friends. I am not here on a mission to change anyone.
In talking to people here, I sense their nostalgia. Their desire to have life be locked into the simplicity of conformity while looking back toward an easier life where there was no effective pushback on the status quo, no reason to have to defend who you are or what you believe logically. There is a deep-seated resistance to change and the idea of living differently than in the past. They think they have a right to live as their parents lived and that life is defined as the "American Way."
I sit with that and wonder who is right. In human terms, there is no successful argument for this dilemma because our species can defend almost anything, even if we have to make things up in the process. The thing I know to be true is God's Love: the acceptance of all the different ways that life shows up. The Freedom that is the truth of everything, and the Harmony that allows all the variety in nature to live together in mutual interdependence.
So another visit home inevitably leads me to the same division that is true of this nation. The pull towards change versus the desire to stay the same. I know what is true for me. Align myself to Spirit and live from there. But what is my part to play in what others believe, and how do I act toward people who want to stay in the nostalgia of a "better day?" I don't have a logical answer as I sit here in Idaho, a place that I sometimes call home but which never fits me as the individual I am. What I do know is that Spirit will guide me.