Tuesday, April 28, 2015

I Must Say This

It pains me when I see people hurting.  Violence is secondary.  Anger is a secondary emotion, covering pain and hurt.  As a white woman, I have not experienced racial violence or racism.  Not really.  I have experienced sexual violence, and all of it's terrible complications, but not racism.  I must say, if I were a African American woman or a mother of a African American or mixed race child, I would be terrified.  I would be hurt.  Who are we, as white people, to condemn an entire race for how they feel?  I don't agree with the violence, but I can see where that anger is coming from.  How could I know what these men and women have experienced?  Could it be possible that race is more of a factor than we white people really think?

Racism is not dead.  It's stealthier and quieter, and as a white woman, I don't see it.  But just because I don't see it doesn't mean that it never happens.  As with the people in Baltimore, there are a great many people doing the right thing.  Ten thousand who peacefully protest, and one hundred violent people ruin it for everyone.  They taint the peaceful people's cause.  I believe the same about police, that most of them are trying to protect and serve the public.  But I'm sure there are some others who make terrible mistakes in making snap judgments about black men, and that can cost a black man his life.

I would be terrified if I was the mother of a black son.  I would fear that he would act immature for a moment or lose his cool, and then lose his life.  I would be afraid that if he moved too fast, he would be gunned down.  Or if he was rough and mischievous like my own son, a policeman would take it wrong and blast him away.  I am a mother to a strong-willed child.  I am a sister of a brother and a daughter of a father.  What if mistakes made by a teenage or young adult African American man cost him his life, but if you are white it doesn't?  What if that is true?  What if we are condemning people of color who systematically are predisposed to poverty and violence?  What if it's not so easy to jump over those hurdles like we think?  It's very easy to criticize the poor and deprived from our nice big homes.  And how about the black people I know and see who are successful, educated, kind, and helpful?   They hurt too, because they know that a white officer might perceive their children and husbands as a threat when they are good, law abiding citizens themselves.  I see people who are white Christians judging the rioters.  Of course, violence isn't the answer, but if someone had killed my son, my husband, or my best friend, would I be angry?  If his crime didn't deserve death, which many of these stories hint that they didn't, then yes.  Maybe I would be there too.  Violence isn't the answer, but I see white Christians trying to invalidate the pain and suffering of a race of people who have plenty of reasons to be angry and hurt.  I am a mother to a son.  I cry for the  mother of Freddie Gray.  I don't know the circumstances, but as a child of God, I know I should be mourning for him too.  He is a human being.  Maybe a child of God, himself.  Let us not negate the suffering of millions by condemning what 100 out of 10,000 did.  Let's look at them as human beings and love them, support them, and understand that the numbers of black men being arrested and killed by police doesn't add up.  Sure, sometimes I know the police were acting within their duties.  But what about the times when they weren't?  Did Freddie deserve to die?  Tamir?  All the countless others?  Probably not.

This does not need to be us vs. them.  We need to love them just like Jesus does.  That's it.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Just Three Times Within Three Years

No big deal.

Sadness fills me lately.   I thought for just a moment I was good enough.  Or that maybe I could grow a job past the one year mark--a feat not done since college, by the way.  "Tired" is not accurate.  "Depressed" is too cold and concise.  Black, grey, cold, banished, abandoned, starving, weary, blue, bored, invisible, hellish...what words?  Can they explain anything I feel?  Not so.  If the earth swallowed me, I would be content.  Bury me under piles of earth, fold me and tuck me in.  Hide me from the light that burns and sears.  It cuts off what is inside, sealing it in until pressure mounts.  An implosion of the soul is a strangely beautiful thing, and I wonder what keeps my heart from doing so.

I do know that I am blessed.  I need not be reminded of my husband and child.  These blessings speak nothing of my failures, and they haunt me.  The lack of confidence must be off-putting to others.  Is there a mark on my forehead, like Ash Wednesday?  Do my eyes scream to you?  Do they say what I do not dare whisper?  Even when I'm alone, to whisper the devastation in my life is like feeding the Beast of Babylon from Revelations.  It's like sacrificing my own soul and welcoming an apocalyptic end.  I don't want to speak of it for fear of the floodgates that might open.  I suppose that my pride has grown to that point, and maybe I'm tired of admitting that every part of me is broken.  There are no longer shards of glass, or visible pieces of me.  These days, putting myself back together is like finding grains of sand blasted into oblivion in infinite space.  I don't even know where most of me is, and I was pretty sure I knew at one point.  Seconds and minutes change things.   So many things.  This is growth, the mass destruction of my soul.  Tear away, build back up, tear some more, build more.  Rip the suture, cut the flesh, over and over again just when new flesh was visible, albeit scarred.  When I enter into glory, I will be a scarred pathetic mess.  This is no different than most of the saints.

Am I a saint?  Surely not, but I wonder how they felt.  Were they this tired?  I doubt they were riddled with my selfish weaknesses.  I doubt they wallowed in self pity.  I get it.  Self pity is unattractive on many levels.  Right now though, I'm trying my best just to get up in the morning and breathe.  I know I am weak.  I see it when I let the despair shine through my eyes...I see how people look away or pat my shoulder.  Depression really makes people uncomfortable.  They just don't know what to say, so it's easier to hide in my house, under a blanket.  That way, I don't garner the small amount of pity that lasts just a minute.  This hole?  It's going to take more than surface words to mend.  This hole is a hole only God can close up.  Maybe He will leave it open for all my lifetime, and I will forever be condemned to the various salts in the wound.  But I don't want others to feel sorry for me.  I just want to be sorry for myself for little while.  Yeah, that's wrong, I know.  I am such a baby--I know I should be happy.  I should be.  Maybe if I smile long enough it will be true.  Just maybe.