Have you ever been window shopping and see the most luscious pair of shoes that are must haves? You go into the store and discover they don’t have exactly your size? You want the shoes so badly, you consider buying the next size down or up. You can stuff tissue paper in the toes or use a Dr. Scholl’s insert. When they are smidge too small, you stand in front of the mirror gaping at your pretty feet and barter.
- I won’t be in them that much.
- It’s not like I have to wear them all day.
- It’s afternoon and my feet are always bigger late in the day.
We make excuses because our desire overrides our reason. Later, the shoes sit in their box on the top shelf in our closet, unworn. We have a hard time throwing them out or giving them away. And we can’t return them, because in our eagerness and infatuation, we wear the shoes and scuff the bottom, making them nonreturnable.
Somethings in life have to fit just right. Even when they fit just right, we have limitations and restrictions. The right glove must go on the right hand, the left on the left. And even when they once fit perfectly, over time they no longer fit. The winter coat I wore in college (when I was a size 6) it no longer a fit for me. It was a perfect fit then.
As a person, we are always in search of the perfect fit, that place we mesh. We want to feel integral and connected. Few in life want to be solitary. Even the reclusive monk lives in a communal environment; he is spiritually apart but benefits from the monastery for shelter and food. Finding that place is a life’s ultimate endeavor. But what does one do when by their very nature, their appearance, their gender, their ethnicity, their age or their class they cannot easily fit into their world?
On NPR last week, I listened to a music review on the new album by Salif Keita, a Mali singer. He reminded me of Celia Cruz or Tito Puente…old school performers from foreign countries. Keita is a noble African….part of a royal family….and an albino. Apparently, certain tribes in Mail will sacrifice an albino. Read that again….SACRIFICE. Can one imagine fear of being a human sacrifice…to be reduced to that? I cannot convey the respect I have for a person, who against all societal forces carves out a life….a beautiful life….and finds his place to FIT. The album, La Difference, is wonderful. The sound is heavenly, even though I have no clue as to what he is saying.