“We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” This perfectly explains my family and me. I have called us “weedy” before. Our origins are uncertain, but I do know we set roots down in what would become the Mexican Secession, a vast swath of land extending from the Rio Grande from the East, north to Wyoming, the current southern borders of Idaho and Oregon at the north, the Pacific Ocean on the west and roughly today’s Mexico-US border on the south. My family straddled the Rio Grande Valley, my paternal side from the East, maternal from the west — a divide that in the 19th century was an international border.
Like my family, I tend to find some ground and then hold on to it, although the land in my case is an idea or principle. Being immovable while conceptual frameworks, like borders or politics, shift has mattered more to me than compromise. Yet, when it is necessary, movement is entirely possible — with prejudice. Perhaps that’s why both sides of my family took so well to Christian fundamentalism. My early understanding of faith, one that has never left me, is that it is kin to obduracy; faith and surrender are antonymic. Faith is both deeply felt, but also an irrevocable choice.
This connection of faith and family is essential to knowing me; we were a family that alloyed persistence and faith, not as an intellectual enterprise but an existential one. I took that one step more and welded my intellect to my faith. That contraption, holding ground, survival, ideas, and knowing that the combination is essential to some higher purpose, characterize who I am.
I love my faith and my family even while I have tried to escape them with physical distance and trying to “fit in.” It never works.
Next entry, Government I