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Lions Roar : July 2011
SHAMBHALA SUN JULY 2011 71 Mrs. Clarke’s house was a small brick ranch on the outskirts of a neighboring town. In the kitchen, the nurses were al- ready drinking and laughing. Mrs. Clarke kept a sharp eye on me and wouldn’t let me near the alcoholic punch. The rest of the women were married with children of their own, and even a few grandchildren. I carried my potato salad to the picnic table outside and came back into the kitchen. Mrs. Clarke was in the middle of a story, “I don’t know what that nigger was doing, meeting her boyfriend out in the parking lot most likely.” She was laughing so hard she was almost crying. “Every single damn night. And you know she was all over that boy with the gunshot wound.” It took me a minute to realize who she was talking about. The wide grimace of racism was re- vealed like a skull’s grin beneath the skin. Edith had never been invited to this party. I can tell you two things about Mrs. Clarke: She was an excellent nurse, and she was a bigot. Both are true. Each obser- vation is like peeking through a keyhole and seeing only a tiny facet of the com- plicated person she was. As the privileged white resident of a southern town, I rarely noticed the racism that Edith encoun- tered every day; the crack of disappoint- ment exposed that truth. When I left to go back to college in the fall, Edith’s farewell gift was a tiny red plastic pocketbook with a folded note in- side: “Dear Elizabeth, I hope you will re- member me.” After Disappointment WHERE DOES THE DOORWAY of dis- appointment lead? If we’re willing to walk through it, we can see all possibilities: the caring nurse and the racist; the rat in the garden of Eden. We can discover the as- sumptions that we’ve been making all along. Disappointment is a necessary, painful treasure that reveals ourselves to ourselves. Wouldn’t it be terrible if you were never disappointed again? ♦ Tergar International 2011 Tergar Events Exploring the Nature of Mind Retreat with Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche May 22 – June 11 • St. John’s University, MN Joy of Living Summer Retreat with Tergar Instructor Tim Olmsted July 15–21 • Portland, OR Joy of Living Summer Retreat with Tergar Instructors Myoshin and Edwin Kelley August 20 –27 • Frontenac, MN Pilgrimage and Retreat in Ladakh with Tergar Instructor Myoshin Kelley September 4–September 24 The Science of Meditation with Dr. Richard Davidson and Matthieu Ricard Sept. 16 –18 • Minneapolis, MN Drubwang Tsoknyi Rinpoche Matthieu Ricard Dr. Richard Davidson www.tergar.org Please check the website for other programs in North America, South America, and Europe Under the guidance of Yongey Mingyur RInpoche Retreats with Lama Surya Das For complete information and secure on-line registration for all of these scheduled events, go to www.dzogchen.org/retreats, e-mail