The title is a quote by Philo of Alexandria or Plato depending on your source. It is one of my favourite quotes and I try my best to meet people with this in mind. To try to remember it and to attempt to listen to their presence knowing that they do have a story and a cross to carry.
One of my best friends wrote me an email as a response to this post I wrote about inheritance. The inheritance I spoke to was not of the material kind, it is more of the intangible kind. Read it and see if you can relate.
I asked if I could post her thoughts as a post of it’s own because it touched me deeply and it was a string of precious truth. I think it’s valubable to share it. Here are her thoughts.
“…the real reason for my email is just to share my thoughts with you after I read your blog about inheritance.
I was overjoyed when I knew that I’ve found a person I could open my heart to about my own feelings.
I too feel like I’ve inherited something. Guilt, that I dont want or need in my life. It is not mine,
but now I am bearing the cross. I am angry, so angry that because of the mere lack of pigment in my skin
I take on that guilt. Maybe I’m angry at myself for allowing it in, maybe I’m angry at others for making me
feel that way.
In my class of 45 sutdents, I am the only white person. I dont feel any different to my fellow students.
I get on the 3rd class carriage of the train and ride with them to wherever I go, because thats what I would have
done anyway if I was alone. But somehow they see me differently. They think I get treated better by the college<
they think I have perks. And that hurts. They think I do well in my test because of what I look like. They think I have
it easy. When topics discussed in class visit the past, i feel horrible. And guilty, and ashamed. But I also feel alone.
I see amazing relationships between people which just restores my faith in humanity.
I want to drive to the middle of the desert, stop along the side of an abandoned road,
take the cross of my shoulders, and leave it there. I want to watch it disappear into dust in the rearview mirror.
I guess all I wanted to say to you is, i know how you feel. We carry heavy things because we are thinkers
and because we have open hearts and we care. Thats a good thing. ANd that makes the load a little lighter.
I love you my dear friend Didi…”
What are your thoughts on inheritance? I think in South Africa it is a deep question which opens raw wounds. It’s not a subject that we as a nation are really ready to face (with all its pain and truth) and therefore allow ourselves the forgiveness and right to move on. I wish us the bravery to go to that uncomfortable place and work with it. Feel it and then come up for air and move forward in a new way.