I’m in the final stages of getting ready to leave on my trip. Belongings are scattered all over my bed, waiting to go into the duffel bag. I’m heading out the door to get my car examined–oil change, check fluids, replace battery. Last thing I want is to be stranded fifty miles from anywhere in Boofoonaboo, whether that ends up being on the plains, in the desert, or on a twisty mountain road.
I also have my final session of physical therapy this afternoon. You see, three days ago I had a slight accident, which resulted in me falling rib-first into a blunt object. Of course, it ended up being one of those injuries that hurts like the dickens but doesn’t really look that bad–just a scab, about a square inch, six inches below my right armpit. There isn’t even any visible bruising.
But the problem with rib injuries is that no matter what you do, it hurts. Sitting up straight, slouching, turning, bending, sneezing, coughing, breathing. In short, it stinks.
So I’ve been trying to will my ribs into healing as quickly as possible so that they won’t bother me too badly on this road trip. You know–the one where I’m driving a stick-shift car with no air conditioning and sleeping on the ground. Yes, I’m still going. No, I’m not sure this is the best idea I’ve ever had, but I’m doing it anyway.
Why am I still going? I’m glad you asked!
My trip to Chiapas, Mexico last month opened my eyes and my heart in many ways. The thing that has stuck with me the most is how much privilege I’ve been gifted with. I can choose to stay home. I can choose to get treatment for my injury. I can choose to ignore what’s happening thousands of miles from where I live.
Or I can choose to do something about it.
How many people are there in our country who are good, loving, honest people, who have families and friends who love them and depend on them, who work hard to earn money and who then spend that money to support our economy–and who, at the same time, can’t get medical treatment, can’t make free choices, can’t turn a blind eye to what’s happening, because it’s happening to them?
Privilege and power are an inherent part of the system in which we all live and operate. Being ashamed of my own power and privilege–hiding from it, pretending it isn’t there, being afraid to use and wield it–that helps no one. It is an abuse of the gifts I have been given. Neither can I give it up–it is tied to every part of who I am.
The only control I have is how I choose to use it.
And in this case, I choose to use it to stand on the side of love with my brothers and sisters in Arizona. I cannot stay home until I know that they will be allowed to stay home, too–whether that home is in Mexico or the United States.