I’ve been cranky this evening. With my poor family. And I only threw Miss Sophie’s “baby” for her to retrieve about ten times. Just sad.
This happens when night comes and I still don’t know what I’m writing about.
And tonight that’s exactly where I’m at.
I don’t know what to write.
It’s not writer’s block, although thank you Facebook ad for the link to find 101 topics to blog about. Actually, I have to admit that was a little scary. It’s like you’re listening to my conversations around here or something.
No writer’s block.
No. What I have is a loss of words.
Two very different things.
My heart is aching. My mind is almost numb to the news reports and stories shared about the most recent act of violence reported on nationally. (Because we can all be sure, sadly the shootings in Charleston are not the almost the most recent acts of violence in our world.)
So much pain. Brokenness. Fear. Anger. Divisiveness. Distrust. Hurt.
I sit here contemplating my plans to write about the heat here in Georgia or about what Cooter said the other day that had us all cracking up and saying, Yes. That.
It just all feels wrong tonight. Each and every day something happens that proves we are not as far from where we once were in this country and world as we would like to be. Not very far at all.
But for some reason, this incident is the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. I cannot bear to hear one more story of hatred and violence and separation of communities. I just can’t. Like so many others have said, “It’s just too much.”
Many years ago I was the director of a not-for-profit childcare center for low-income, working (or in school) families. Only three of the thirteen staff members were white. Most of the time our children were all African-American. One morning four-year old Whitney was in the office with me for a few minutes. She was a beautiful girl and very sweet. She looked up through the plate-glass window to the front door.
“Oh here comes Miss Dee!” she said happily, seeing the sweet elderly Caucasian Assistant Director come in. “Here she comes.” She clapped her hands. She looked again at Miss Dee and then looked back at me. “Huh. Miss Dee is a white lady.” She stared for a second. “We have a lot of white people who work here, don’t we?”
Y’all. It was the first time that sweet child ever saw color. EVER. I could see it in her face and hear it in her voice. The very first time.
Our children are not born with the vision to “see” color. One day they realize the differences, and what they do with that knowledge has a lot to do with us. And what we teach them from that moment on.
I am uncomfortable. As a middle-class white woman, I do not feel like I can speak to the pain and brokenness in the racial divide.
And yet, as a human being born and taught to love others–ALL others, I must speak out.
My Mama and Daddy taught me right from wrong. We were not allowed to say many words–and “hate” was one of them. We were never, ever allowed to leave someone out. That could get us in more trouble than a little bit. We were taught that all life is precious. All life. No matter the shape, size, color, beliefs, dialect, country of origin, sense of humor, nothing–ALL MATTERED.
And I expect if they were here, they’d be just as torn up over all the goings on in our world today as I am.
Only they’d have wisdom to share to help me process it and figure out what I can do to change things. I have nothing right now.
Except my words. And they gave those to me, so I guess this is a start.
I know this has been happening for a long, long time. This division and pain and fear and pointing fingers and killing of innocent people perceived to be “less than.” I guess it’s just taken me this long to get fed up enough to say something.
And for that, I am sorry. I should not have been silent in the face of injustice and hatred. EVER.
Tonight I’m asking all of you to think of four-year old Whitney. Think of the little ones around me and you and all of us who are looking to us for love and guidance and examples of how to love. Knowing that, let’s go out and love others and give the children one heck of an example to follow. Let’s love the mess out of folks–all folks, those who live next door and those whom we see at the grocery store, and those we come across at the ball park or the restaurant or on our walks into the office building. Those who think or look like us and those who don’t. Seeing that we love all, that we treat all people as if they matter (BECAUSE. THEY. DO.), the children will begin to do the same.
It’s not a perfect system. It’s as broken as we all are really. But if we start showing the little ones how to love and loving their little spirits for the sheer joy of loving*, then one day we might have a violence free day. One day people of all different backgrounds and beliefs might be able to sit and break bread together with no fear of misunderstandings or acts of hatred. One day, we might just get this living in community thing right.
But it has to start with each and every one of us. And it has to start now y’all. Tonight.
Go surprise someone and tell them you love ’em. And mean it.
Let’s fight hatred with love. Darkness with light. Pain with a healing touch.
Love. To. ALL.
*My oldest was blessed to know Rev. William Hurdle, who served as Chaplain at Wesleyan College for over sixteen years until his death in January of this year. When I think about loving folks, the line that seemed to be his mantra never fails to come to mind. “Love for the sheer joy of loving.” That dear man knew how to love all and love well. I was watching. So were many others. Who’s watching you and your loving ways?