During a time that feels so uncertain, I’d like to take a moment to talk about what is certain. When people can’t see eye to eye, when an invisible force sweeps through our world, taking lives with it, when we all want to be heard but can’t seem to get through to anyone… I want to say that God is still in control. Everything I do is within that framework. I try to do my part to keep my family safe, to educate myself as well as my daughter. Talk to my husband about the state of the world, our country, our community and keep an open line of communication with everyone I know to say I’m here and I hear you. Not being heard is a pain too great and I fear that with everyone screaming, no one is being heard. So I’m sitting here, quietly, in my community, in this space, saying I see you, I hear you, I hear your concerns, I may not understand, but I hear you.
I have written a blog post that I’ve yet to publish where I addressed naivety. Naivety, ignorance, call it what you want. There are things that some of us could never understand unless we have walked in those shoes before. That doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t listen, it simply means that before we open our mouths to say, “Yea but..” we need to understand that there are circumstances beyond our comprehension. I have listened to my sister voice the pain of her illness, but I do not know what it truly feels like to have my body shut down on me. I have listened to my other sister grieve the loss of her babies. I have cried for her, cried with her, but I cannot tell you that I fully know the pain of having a child grow and fade within me. I don’t know what it’s like to fear for my husband’s life every day that he puts his uniform on and goes out to protect and serve our community. I do not know what it is like to grow up as a victim to the systematic inequality that has withstood for generations.
Brandon and I watched this documentary years ago about gang violence in LA. It was so eye opening to hear that these young boys felt like they had no choice but to join a gang for protection, or else fear for their lives daily. As a child, even as an adult, have you ever known what it feels like to fear for your life the minute you stepped outside of your house? To feel like your choices were limited? Chances are, no. These are things I cannot fully grasp until I have gone through them myself. For many of us we will never understand the things that others go through because we are not destined to walk in their shoes. So I plead with you now, listen. Stop making excuses. Stop making it about your political party. Listen, and my word, be KIND! This is something my almost two year old is being taught. Why are there well grown adults out there not being kind? Mom rant. It’s time to bring our guards down and admit at the very least that we don’t know what it’s like to feel some of the pressures that everyone in our country is feeling right now. Police officers, doctors, politicians, people of all races.
I’m teaching my daughter kindness and respect for others. I’m teaching her that she is a beautiful mixture of mama and daddy. That love transcends all and though one day she may look different, her curls might break loose and frizz up on a swampy humid North Carolina day, she has nothing to be ashamed of. I’m teaching her to love all people. Young, old, black, white, brown, disabled, everyone. I have learned some of my best lessons in life from people who are different than I am. From the sweet older folk I cared for in physical therapy who shared years worth of wisdom with me to the perseverance of an 8 year old quadriplegic just attempting to crawl across a gym mat. My world view is constantly being shattered the more I empathize with others and I think that’s what’s missing today. I think we need more empathy, more kindness. More setting ourselves aside and saying, I hear you. I see you. A couple of years ago I was witness to a little girl who was told by another little girl at the library, “No, you can’t play with this, this isn’t for girls with brown skin.” Confused, the girl looked up at her father, who scooped her up and left the library. Come on you guys. This is not ok. You can’t tell me that this stuff isn’t still going on in our country. In Felicity’s words when we pretend like we’re asleep, “Wake up.”
I pray that I don’t pass my own prejudice on to my children. I pray that each generation that follows shows more kindness to one another. That they see people for who they are. Ephesians 2:14-18