Convergence and Perspective
At the core of the design process there is a much sought after point where all the pieces and parts of our subconscious converge into a moment of clarity. That happens in life as well, and I always enjoy a good “ah-ha” moment.
Sometimes those moments are larger than our individual selves, and for a time we can sense the ebb and flow of the greater cultural sea around us. Last week’s announcement from the President about his evolving view on gay marriage triggered one of those moments for me, and it comes as one more element in a convergence of both personal and cultural experiences.
As I sat down to begin writing this CAMPmatters column, I had just come from the May CAMP Rehoboth Volunteer Orientation session, where I, as I often do, spoke about the founding, history, and vision of CAMP Rehoboth. As I frequently do in those sessions, I had with me a copy of the very first issue of Letters from CAMP Rehoboth: it’s only four pages long! Looking at it made the 22 years since it was printed disappear for a moment, as I remembered our very early “baby steps” with this organization—and the creation of the mission and vision that still serves us today.
About the same time we started CAMP Rehoboth, my oldest nephew, Drew, was born. Steve and I have both written about him recently, and I just talked again about him at the abovementioned Volunteer Orientation. Earlier this year Drew came out to us, and that act has had a profound and unexpected impact on my life and my view of both CAMP Rehoboth and the world in which we live.
Throughout our history at CAMP Rehoboth, we’ve worked to “create a more positive” world—a healthier, safer place for all of us. Seeing it all through Drew’s eyes, makes me remember why we do the things we do, and why it is so important that we continue to do them. Drew—and his brother and sister and cousins—inspire me to keep going. They remind me that while the struggle still continues, we have, indeed, made progress.
One of the images going around Facebook the last few days showed the cover of The New Yorker magazine with a photo of the White House on it, with each one of its columns a different color of the rainbow. Now that I think about it, the White House has always been rainbow colored to me; that’s where Steve and I met back in 1978! That’s a story for another time, but it still has its place within the “ah-ha moment” I’m experiencing right now.
What exactly am I talking about? I’m not sure I can even put it into words. If this were a painting, there would be overlapping and transparent images of Drew, CAMP Rehoboth, the President, the Governor signing the Civil Union Act, the many people who have made this area the fourth highest per capita in the country for gay couples, all the 34 years that Steve and I have been together, the 25 years of Sundance, and even the casts of Glee and Modern Family. I’m talking about a snapshot of the time in which we live, a moment of awareness, when each one of us sees ourselves and the world around us from a new perspective.
Perspective changes everything, doesn’t it? Take a tree for example. Stand too close to the tree, and all we can see is the bark; stand too far from the tree and all we see is the forest. There are times when we need to see detail; there are times we need to see the big picture.
The vision of CAMP Rehoboth has always been larger than just LGBT issues. Sure that’s our focus, but working to promote cooperation and understanding among all people, and fighting against prejudice and injustice in all its forms, continues to be a key part of our mission.
Most of the time we don’t get much of a glimpse of the big picture; we get so bogged down in our day-to-day survival, all we can see is the “bark,” and we forget we’re even looking at a tree.
When President Obama spoke up about gay marriage last week, it made me proud. His words linked the work of CAMP Rehoboth with every other person and organization working for equality. Drew’s presence in my life makes me proud too, and changes my perspective on the work we do here. Both of them lifted me out of the details of my life and reconnected me to a vision that is larger than any one person or organization, and gives me hope for the future.
I don’t know what will happen in the next election. I don’t know how Drew (or others of his generation) will change the world, but for today I feel optimistic that we are moving in a forward direction.
We have a vision for the future. Let’s not lose it.
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.