Thursday, July 14, 2016

a reflection on our nation's ongoing tragedies

Mini globes available via AmberThomasMakes
I've been drowning myself in Christmas music over the last week.

I've been filling my brain with Drummer Boy and O Come, O Come Emmanuel and O Come All Ye Faithful. There's some serious hope in those songs, some beautiful, baby-laden hope and right now, hope is what I need. Because I'm feeling all of the feelings, working through all the news of the last week, and wishing for some Christmas magic in July.

I've been trying to make sparkles and shine the distraction from all the emotions that come with tragedy. I've been trying to comfort myself with warm memories because Right Now feels so chaotic and uncertain. I've wanted to speak out, to say how everyone should unite and feel and do and love. But, it's exhausting to hear all the ways people want us to act. It's exhausting. And it's an important first step to welcome and get to know all the feelings swirling around in our souls.

Friends, I am scared. Admittedly, I spend more time online than I want to. But last week, I couldn't stay away from the stream of news as the terrifyingly unjust events happened. From Baton Rouge to Fresno to Boston to Dallas, I was glued. I watched and scrolled and broke into a million little pieces inside. I am scared for my youngest brother with his dark skin and sweet soul, for the judgments placed on him by strangers and I want to take all his life's dangers away.

Friends, I am mourning. I am mourning the deaths of Black men on America's soil. I am mourning the officers who didn't make it home from protecting the people. I am mourning the dream of America as not separate and always equal - an idealism I can no longer pretend exists. We've progressed, but still have so far -so far- to go. I am mourning the future for my children who might be hated for their skin or their sexual orientation or their life choices.

Friends, I am burdened. Deeply and wholly burdened. Burdened as a White woman, as a citizen of the US, as a sister of Black friends, as a Christ-lover, as a future mama. I feel burdened to listen where there is conversation, to cry where there is heartache, to hold space in order for healing to come in heaping doses. I feel burdened to smile a little harder at strangers, to pray rhythmically through my day, to identify and alter the frame of reference that can skew my reality.

Friends, I am angry. There is only one enemy here and he is not human. He is not Black or White or Asian. He is not uniformed or layman. He is not always obvious and single-handed, but he is always mean, always ugly, always a source of hot anger in my chest. He is real and dangerous, but we've got so much more beauty in our hearts than he has power in his possession.

Friends, I am still. Rash and wild is my default reaction to tragedy. I see the pain and want to go sprinting towards it, needing to ease the pain. I want to speak all the words, attempt to patch all the wounds, and make all the aches better. The intention is kind, but the action turns out frantic, chaotic, and, sometimes, ignorant. I am still and communal, allowing my own emotions to wash over the shores of my soul, knowing He's sovereign despite the circumstance.

But friends, for the most part, I am hopeful.  I've been begging Him to sing hope over our souls because I know that hope heals. The internet is full of scary facts and bad news. But then there's this, this, this. Small breaks in the stormy clouds where light pours in, pours through, and is so pure it makes me squint. I've said it before and I'll say it always, but it's action that brings healing. It's holding tight to our similarities and embracing what makes each of us different. It's steps toward each other, where we embrace with arms, engage with minds, and drop walls that will bring back joy.

So, my feelings are named, my thoughts set down on paper (and blog post), my heart ready for action. I circle back to love every time. Love that provides hope, joy, kindness. Love that is honest and pure and unconcerned with the spectrum of our skin, sexual orientation, social status. Love that is made up of small steps in the direction of community.  I've started seeing the people around me in Starbucks and the library and Target instead of engaging with Instagram. I've pushed my face to smile, my voice to welcome, my heart to seek kindness.

I've stopped worrying so much about me and started investing small cents in the people around me. Small currencies in the form of "good morning" and smiles and general kindness. Small cents that are flipped from the tips of my fingers into the wishing well of humanity. Cents filled with wishes and hopes for goodness poured out. Small cents that add up, just as yours do.

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