My back went out today. Any of you that have had the experience of ‘the back going out’, know that it can happen at the drop for a hat, no apparent stressors, for no good reason whatsoever! I was walking along the hallway in my home, and felt that little shock of what feels like electricity, and before I could utter, “Uh oh”, there it went. I am now the wounded animal in the pack. Are we eagles, ducks, and wolves, or are we less empathetic?
Being in this position, of course got me to thinking about many things. I thought back to when I was in Africa, and all the wondrous things I saw. I remember watching a giraffe eat. It seemed like the funniest, the most comical thing I had ever seen. But, when taken in context of what was happening, and why the giraffe was behaving that way, it was not funny at all.
When the giraffe eats something from the ground, it is in the most vulnerable and exposed position it could ever be in. She must spread her front legs far apart, then lower her neck to reach the ground. As you can imagine, being in this position makes her very nervous, so a great deal of time is spent jerking her head up and looking around. How could someone possible enjoy a meal like that!
It made me think of our current position, or at least, what some feel our current position is.
I have friendS who will admit they have enjoyed white privilege in many areas of their lives. For the first time (one stated) in her life, she felt concern when going out by herself. Afraid on the drive, afraid in the carpark, even afraid in the elevator with others. Imagine, FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HER LIFE! Wow. I shared that as a black American woman, I have felt that way unfortunately, in many situations.
Anyway. I am saying that to say that we all may feel different levels of anxiety and vulnerability. But, the thing we need to know, is that we will be okay. We will take care of each other. As much as possible, we will live life as usual. Even the giraffe that was afraid to eat actually had other giraffes looking our for her on the outskirts. When a point duck (the one leading the V formation) is tired and falls back, other ducks surround her/him so (s)he can coast on the wind channels until (s)he gets her/his strength back. If a duck is wounded and cannot go on, another duck stays with him/her until the final outcome, whatever that may be, or looks like.
We are not alone. Although we may feel especially vulnerable in the upcoming months and years, let’s remember that. There is strength in numbers. We are many.