Rainy Monday morning. Favorite coffee shop. Vanilla latte splurge.
A beautiful weekend personally. A difficult one otherwise.
A broken heart at the things that are tearing us apart in these United States. My home. My country.
I don’t want to add to the social media frenzy unless I can do so in a helpful way. Because fingers having been flying across keyboards and posting things helpful (and also not so much…) for 48 hours now. Such is life these days. The blessing and curse of the internets.
But good lord my heart hurts this morning. And I don’t know what to do but write it out. I didn’t have words yesterday. Or the day before. And I may not have the right ones today (if there even is such a thing). But these are the things at the forefront of my heart this morning…and I offer them to you out of heartache and anger and grief and, I’m praying for, a dose of humility as well, because there is so much I do not know, and so much I have not experienced.
- I’m angry. But that anger is rooted in grief and heartache. This is not what we were made for–this vicious hate and unending rage at one another. The people of color that I love are scared. So are those who love them best. And I am desperate for something to ease their fear. Desperate for the right words and actions to help them feel safe. Held. Loved. No matter what. I feel woefully insufficient in this regard, so much that all I could do yesterday was fold into a fierce hug a dear friend who is white, but who has a black son. I cannot know her pain. But how I wish I could stop it.
- I stood at the communion table at the church where I work yesterday morning. And invited people to it. And I did so making clear that the communion table (in my faith tradition) is not ours to define. It is God’s. And that means all are welcome. My voice caught…and I imagine that those listening thought my voice caught because I was imagining all the people who have been excluded from events or places or lives because of the color of their skin. But what I was actually thinking about were those men who held those torches and said those awful things and cast that awful fear and caused those three people to lose their lives in Charlottesville. Because the thing is? God loves them too. I cannot. But God does. And this is both tremendous challenge and tremendous grace. My hating them for their hate does not create space for love. And I grieve, deeply, for whatever causes them to hate so. I do not excuse it. I do not condone it. I outright condemn it. And in the same breath know that whatever pain they bear that causes such deep pain for others…this is heartache, too.
- This is simply a variation on a theme if you’ve read much at all of what I’ve written in the last year, but when we make white supremacy purely a partisan issue, it is not helpful. Over the last couple of days, folks from both sides of the aisle have condemned white supremacy, Neo-Nazism and the KKK specifically. This does not absolve those who did not offer such a condemnation. But it is an important reminder that we cannot judge every single person in an entire party, in a terribly broken and dysfunctional political system, by the silence and/or actions of some. Even when that “some” seems to be the majority and is highly visible. Republican does not equal racist. Democrat does not equal liberal fascist. Full stop.
- At the same time? It’s time to speak up. Make clear that hate is not to be tolerated. In our words, in our actions, in our lives. Every day. All the damn time. In whatever ways we can. Commit to loving harder.
- We’ve done this already, y’all. We fought a whole war over fascism and hate. The whole world participated and/or watched it unfold. And in my book, patriotism means that we honor those who fought that fight and do our damnedest to protect what they secured. We cannot simultaneously celebrate liberty and the Stars and Stripes while also propagating hatred of our neighbors and equal citizens.
The fact that I fear hitting the “publish” button on this blog is in itself indicative of how angry and divided we are as a nation. Because I know it will not be enough for some folks I love so much. But if there were ever a time for speaking our hearts, for sharing our fears and desires, for seeking a way forward, this is it. I want to be part of a solution. And I cannot live in anger and hate. Because as was once said, “Hate is too great a burden to bear.” I don’t even know how to stop it. Except by naming it. And sticking with love when and if at all possible. And standing in the brink of what hate creates and declaring, “No. We’re not having this. Not in these United States.”
When you have been brought to your knees in grief and pain, the grief and pain of others is easier to see. Even if you cannot entirely understand it. Charlottesville’s heartache is all of ours. And so I think my prayer for my country this morning is that we would, in fact, be brought to our knees for this time we find ourselves in. And from that vantage point, seek to understand how, together, we might restore hope.
3 thoughts on “To our knees.”
Julie, Your late friend, Brother Will Campbell, marched against racism. He called the hate-filled actions of the KKK sin. And, he served the Lord’s Supper to the Grand Wizard of the KKK in his federal prison cell in Connecticut, I think. I suspect that Will Campbell had a lump in his throat as well.
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Thank you, Julie. I don’t know at what church you work; but the people there are blessed by your presence. I hope they know that and tell you that. I am a retired pastor, serving a part-time church; and we also serve at an open table. Your words in these blogs consistently help focus my spirit; so, in a sense, you are my pastor, too. Thanks.
You’re very gracious, Jim. Thanks for reading–and if my words have at all been a blessing, consider me grateful.