I am excited to introduce our readers to amazing and caring people who live, work, play and do business in our community and city. Learning about people of all lifestyles, talents, and personalities who I think would be interesting for our readers to enjoy. San Diego has a wonderful diversity of individuals that make our slice of paradise the greatest place to live and enjoy each other’s uniqueness.
If I was asked to describe Sister Ida in one word, that word would be kindness. She is a member of the San Diego Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, a non-profit organization that does God’s work with their own style, love, compassion, and happiness while giving back to the community. I met Sister Ida over 20 years ago and she truly is a face in our community you can count on and someone who will always make you smile. So, it is my pleasure to introduce you to a community Angel, Sister Ida.
How did you end up in San Diego and what do you love about it?
I grew up in a military family. As such, these families are known to move around as a career moves along. Being a “Navy Brat”, as we were called, I was the one who was born overseas, while my parents lived in Japan, California, The Philippines, and finally San Diego. I recall when we were moving to San Diego, my father saying, “We are moving to Poway”. I recall him saying it like it was going to be an adventure. As I grew up from that young age of 9 and through High School, our weekends were spent either at the beach in La Jolla, a family ranch in Ramona, or hiking with my best friend in the hills. My recollection of those days was that they were always fun. My ABSOLUTE favorite place to visit in San Diego was and is Balboa Park, just South of Hillcrest. The Museums and the Zoo was where I my imagination sparked. San Diego has such a vast and diverse, very Mediterranean weather.
What gets you most excited about life?
This is a tricky question since that changes throughout one’s life. During my youth I was excited about science and the promises of better tomorrows. Today the excitement comes from spending time with people: Family, friends, strangers you encounter in the varied ways available. I found the local community via the Sisters and a couple who were active as Sisters back in 2007. To say there were dark days is counter to what I want to say, but the exciting thing about who you are interviewing in this article is that I found Love again. One cannot keep that to one’s self… Love MUST be shared. It is through spreading joy and love that we get it back in great quantity. That excites me to no end.
In your professional life what makes your business stand out and how has it changed your life?
My secular job is in IT. Starting with Customer Support and Network Management, I have found that service was what I do well. My job as a Sister… Well, as in the “What excites me” question, it was finding the Sisters that took that desire to help people at work, and expand it to a community. The Sisters are that uniquely visible representation of the LGBTQ+ community. Having never known of the Sisters before that time, I saw and felt an energy that could be tapped for good. I could have this conversation for hours, because of the impact meeting them had on me.
In one or two sentences, how would friends describe you?
“Sister Ida is a wonderful representative of the Gay community. Always so warm and approachable and so ready to engage in conversation with everyone.” (Or at least I hope they still say that). Honestly, when I hear a compliment from people, my response is automatically. “I hope I continue to earn such kind words.” “She also seems to be EVERYWHERE” … I do hear that a LOT – being referred to as the “Energizer Bunny Sister”.
What or Who really makes you laugh and why?
One of the “Secrets of the Universe” is attraction through humor.
If I could channel the energy of Robin Williams, I feel I could change the world.
Who inspires you in life to do your very best and why?
I hear my dad’s voice when he would tell me, “Always do a good job, no matter what you are doing. I don’t care if you are digging a trench, working on a project, do the best and do it until the job is done”. (I worked a LOT of overtime with those words). My mom constantly has been a source of kindness and where I learned to care about others. The list is pretty vast after my parents, grandparents, and those closest to me. I have had this ethic of finding what I like about people and incorporating that into my own life. A “Pay it forward” thing.
If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be and why?
There is an article I read by Gene Roddenberry, written as a letter to the future. This future he was writing to had found universal joy (something Sisters preach), universal acceptance (again espoused by the Sisters), and how a little show he started writing back in the 1960’s was able to open a window into that possible future. The future I would love to see happen. I believe we all want to be agents for doing good and making things better. I accepted that as part of my vision too.
If you could give someone advice about your art, hobby, or business, what would you tell them?
Again, I hear my Dad… “Do the best you can, and learn as much about it, as you do.” It pretty much fits all subjects.
What are your top five valves you live by?
Rules by which I live:
In addition to the Golden One,
1) If you find something that needs to be done and can fill that need then jump in and do it.
2) If you listen more than talk, you learn something differently than you believed.
3) Be Happy where you are on the path.
4) You are a Sister even when the ‘whiteface’ is off. Always be the Nun you aspire to be and spread joy. The work doesn’t stop.
5) Rinse / Repeat…
Gratitude is so important in each of our lives, what are you most grateful for, and how do you pay it forward?
Telling this answer deserves some history that deserves to be remembered.
The most altruistic concept that is easy to fulfill is also the most wonderful gift to receive. I found the local community in Hillcrest through that very unlikely source of simply chatting on the internet. It was March in 2007 when I began chatting with someone online, who wound up along with her partner to be members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. Getting to know people online and making friends is random at best. Discovering people who have the same sense about acceptance of others and a willingness to take someone under their wings is what drew me to agree to meet them on June 10th (when Sister Ida’s life found its first spark).
I always ask this, at this part of the story, “Have you ever met someone who immediately became your best friend?” These two, then junior members of the Sisters, gave that gift of friendship, but also something even more – the gift of their love. It manifests itself in the adoration I saw they had for one another, and just how wonderful they worked together. Any interaction outside of their home was exactly the same. I learned how a loving relationship was supposed to look like. Without delving further into my own history, I can say that learning that again, helped me find joy in myself, and back into my life. “It is a gift that I can never repay to them. I simply will always love them.”
When this spark was ignited within my very spirit, there was such a sense of joy that certain things fell into place. This story is actually much longer than I write here, but fairly shortly after that. November 2007, I mentioned I was considering joining the Sisters as well. Sister Freeda’s response boiled down to this. “Don’t join because we (Sister Freeda & Novice Sister Shirley Knot) are here. Join because it is a great use of your time” (I paraphrased a bit). We may not always be active as members of the Sisters, was the last thing said to me. As it was, they found their way back into other pursuits to find joy, whereas I found my joy in being a Sister. Most times I would say that I dedicate the work I do to the joy and love given to me by them. Paying that gift, I cannot repay, forward. Spreading joy through conversations with people who, like I was back then, are very new to the community, or to themselves.
I am ever grateful for finding them and being found. Being out as Sister Ida, allows my inner spirit to shine, hopefully sending joy to others.
As an aside, I want to thank you, Big Mike, for being another beacon of joy in the community.