Still Learning To See

This old white guy

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My wife and granddaughter leading the way!

It is time for this old white guy to take a further step aside to make more room for more of the world.

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Where are we headed? Who is winning? Who is losing? Are we just chasing our shadows? So many questions!

Many old white men like me have too long tried our best to manage the world and, honestly, from my point of view our results are pretty terrible. It turns out life is simply not a sports event where one team can win, game over.

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Timeless fun in a pile of leaves.

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The house where my grandson pictures himself with his family. Isn’t this what we all want?

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One of my heroes in life, my father-in-law, picking hickory nuts, a job traditionally done by old men, probably in part because they/we value the time to simply think.

I’m ready to move over and make room for my daughter and my grandkids and the kids of my sisters-in-law and my nieces and, especially if they are willing to take a long, hard look at themselves, my nephews and the other boys and men in my life. I’m also more ready than ever to tap into the wisdom of really old people—of any color—because as they/we edge up closer to death they often enable us to see true wisdom, a quality that is essential to having a world that works for all of us. All of us and especially the majority of the world’s population—women, girls, children and non-whites—who have so long been not part of the conversations.

jrs-01226My father-in-law, another old white guy, continues to inspire me, as can be seen here walking with his daughter and her wife and one of their eight children down the aisle to finally be legally married, after 28 years of being together. Can I make room for these kinds of changes? Can I stay committed to what is important to me?

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What does it take to be happy?

I spent thirty minutes this morning looking back at a Life magazine from 1966. I was then a senior in high school. Girls, cars school, religion, the war and politics were important to me, mostly in that order. Girls still “got pregnant;” gas was $.25/gallon; cars were mainly an extension of my racing emotions; the game of school was to get good grades (3.94 average) rather than learn about life; I was deeply questioning how we as Christians could justify dropping napalm and allow black churches to be burned, why we needed to live under the dark clouds of mutually assured nuclear destruction; and the political world, which only a few years prior had still seemed simple enough that we “should” be able to make a difference, had suddenly become scrambled by the murders of the Kennedy brothers, Dr. King, and Malcolm X.

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Can we include the smallest of creatures in our thinking about this big old world of ours? We’d better because without spiders, chances are good humans would go extinct.

History is a great mirror in which to view the present, to see how many ways we have changed and how many (more?) ways we have not.

On Wednesday of this week I’ll still need to talk to neighbors, shop keepers, family—people who have different points of view and opinions. What can I learn from them? What do we share in common? As an old, white man I realize more than ever how often I’ve seen and tried to shape the world using mainly what I saw through my eyes. And as enlightened as I thought I was and as educated as I am, I know my sight has been blurred and colored and simply blinded for much of my life. It is time to move over and share in a greater vision of the world.

“Still Learning to See” continues to take on new meaning for me today.

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Whichever way it blows, there is much to be done.

This entry was published on November 7, 2016 at 10:25 am and is filed under Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

7 thoughts on “This old white guy

  1. Karen Dailey on said:

    AMEN, Brother! You’ve said it well. I’m with you in this as on “old white woman.” 🙂 I love you! Your Sis

  2. That is a beautiful photo essay essay. What a wonderful collection of scenes and thoughts and beautiful blendings. Thank you again, from another old white guy.

  3. Dave Timmerman on said:

    What a wonderful life reflection and message to us all especially the up and coming slightly younger Old White Guys.. thank you Howard

  4. ehwfram on said:

    Your sensitivity and generosity continue to move me. May I only say, don’t step too far to the side. Better to just scooch over a bit so those coming along can walk shoulder to shoulder with you. There is much to be learned and gained from the wisdom of experience paired with new ideas.

    With the privilege of your gender and race comes the solemn responsibility to continue to speak for the values your folks and inlaws instilled upon you as you have done so well and diligently to date. Your willingness to widen your vision is a gift of example for all of us. Thank you!

    • Thank you. Yes, somehow I think I’ll be in the middle of it all for a while to come. Just so grateful to see such a powerful diversity of faces around me know that “I’ve come down where I ought to be.”

  5. My relatives have been feuding on Facebook about the election on both sides. It is exhausting, it was nice to discover this blog as a relief.

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