When I was in college, I read Andre Agassi's autobiography and learned that he hated playing tennis. He loathed the sport, but loved winning. He spent his whole life doing something that he was perpetually battling internally. This idea that something could be fundamentally yes AND no, black AND white stuck with me. Once my eyes were opened, I saw these contradictions everywhere. In the world, in others, in myself. My work as a refugee case manager was one giant, messy, beautiful contradiction. It was the hardest and best job I've ever had. I shed tears and felt like I was part of something completely right and true when one of my kids worked through immense barriers to defy all odds and graduate high school. I felt deep connection to some families and knew we were friends before professional partners. I knew I was part of something bigger when I introduced my kiddies to the wonders of the outside and took them on hikes in my beloved mountains. It was heart-swelling and grounding. But all days weren't beets and gravy. I've never felt more at odds with parts of my country and community. I encountered ugly and mean ideas and actions that made me feel so very small and helpless in protecting my own. I learned about past lives and homes that were full of violence of fear. I learned that life is so utterly and completely unfair. I saw all sides of the spectrum and met so many damn CONTRADICTIONS!! It's still digesting two years in and I think I'll be trying to come to terms with the rights and wrongs my entire life. Looking back, I think the only thing that I truly understand is that dignity and peace are hard fought privileges and I'm here to work hard to share them with others.