A few weeks later, after receiving her nomination for the next Rotary District Governor of the California-Nevada District, she is talking with her father back in Texas. It’s easy to hear both sides of the conversation. He shouts into the telephone as if he were still using one of those old horn shaped wooden boxes.
“That’s wonderful,” I hear him say, with all of the enthusiasm that a women in labor might express towards sex. Lydia was raised as the middle daughter in a German household, a daughter who was born just ahead of the only son. A daughter who is rising in the hierarchy of the male dominated Rotary world. A daughter who continues to challenge the conventional wisdom. As we say, first you walk to the edge of the earth, then you drop off.
Not so long ago, at a party held for us on the eve of our departure, some of our friends demanded an explanation for our “crazy” behavior. After all, in violation of accepted American principles, we were giving away or throwing away perfectly good worldly possessions…furniture, computers, TV’s, music systems, nearly everything, it seemed to them.
“All life is sorrow,” I said, borrowing from the perennial philosophy, “and this sorrow is caused by desiring something that the universe is not prepared to give us. We see perfection in our mate, we wish for perfect health for our loved ones, and we desire the world to treat us fairly. When life does not see fit to provide us with these things that we desire, then sorrow comes to rest within our hearts.”
“And so it is with our remaining safe at home, secure in the bosom of our friends and in the narrower confines of our familiar community. We wish to remain, and we see that this desire will be the cause of sorrow. Time demands change, so now we must travel down new paths.”
I was startled to see a lot of tears on the upturned faces. One person rushed from the room. (However, I later learned that she needed to go to the bathroom.)