Forgive me for a different kind of post than you will usually find here on The Winding Willows.
I genuinely try to make my time about you and helping women through tough times. But I have to share my heart with you this week, in light of what is happening in our world. Global pandemics and racial tensions in America. Riots and looting and peaceful protests.
It’s a lot for any one person to take in, especially when they are already struggling with problems in their own lives, like many of the readers here.
Maybe you will find something in my thoughts that resonate with you and hopefully bring you peace knowing you aren’t alone.
Calm Before The Storm
Earlier last week, before we watched an unarmed man be suffocated while handcuffed on the ground, the world was arguing about masks and social distancing.
Sources like the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control were giving conflicting information. Some towns were allowing gatherings, some states had never locked down, and churches were being raided.
In my own life, we started the process of building a house. And I’ve started a political campaign to recall an inept politician.
It is a lot. Especially for those of us with anxiety.
But even the calmest among us can sense the unease in the world. They know the economy has a giant question mark over it. And that a Presidential Election is coming up which always changes the feel of the country.
But who could have thought that this was the calm before the storm?
That this was the quiet before cities started burning and lives were destroyed?
Because come to find out, people were finally going to see what black Americans have been saying all along…that they were being killed unjustly and targeted by racism.
There was something different about this time. Something that changed people’s heart to understanding that racism still exists in our country.
Maybe it was George Floyd’s pleas for air. Or the fact he was clearly not a threat. Or something I can’t put my finger on.
But this time was different.
There has been a more vocal more outpouring of support for Americans of color. And there has been more heartbreak from them as well.
Because watching a man be slowly killed on the sidewalk while crying out for his mom should touch everyone. Of every color, age, political persuasion, sexual orientation, etc.
So we woke up on the morning after Mr. Floyd’s death and the world was once again changed. Everyone stopped caring so much about face masks and toilet paper.
White Americans who had denied racism were acknowledging George Floyd should still be alive and Black Americans were….well I can’t imagine. Maybe numb? Maybe angrier? Probably a whole range of emotions.
I’ve watched in sadness as riots happen in cities across the country. Not because of the destruction, although that also breaks my heart.
But because we are seeing the physical evidence of an entire group of people who feel so unheard they need to resort to violence. When Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players peacefully knelt, they were ridiculed and dismissed. Sure, maybe his protest was not one everyone can get behind.
That’s wasn’t the point though…
PROTESTS AREN’T SUPPOSED TO BE COMFORTABLE
They’re meant to bring attention to issues. In his case, it was to let Americans know that our racial divide was too great. That black and white Americans were not on the same page.
Instead it drove the chisel in deeper.
We’ve had more deaths in the time since we’ve watched him kneel. Now, instead of watching him kneel, we watched a cop kneel on a man’s neck.
Why oh why didn’t we listen when the kneeling was just on a football field?
Here’s why I didn’t. Even when I weakly said I didn’t approve of his methods but I approved the message. It’s because it didn’t truly get us where we live. Sure, we might be patriots and lovers of country, but more importantly, we are sisters and mothers and aunts and cousins. And I have the privilege of being insulated from the type of discrimination Colin was protesting against.
We are family members who don’t want to watch our brother be killed by a corrupt cop. Worst of all, by a cop whose fellow officers did nothing to stop him. It’s hard to strongly make an argument for ALL authority when 100% of the officers in George Floyd’s death were unwilling to do the right thing.
I know a majority of officers are good people who work their hardest and put their life on the line for the citizens they protect.
But the most broken part of my heart knows it doesn’t matter.
Until we do something to make sure Black Americans are being heard.
Until we make sure a ‘bad apple’ can never kneel on someone’s neck.
Until the justice system treats all Americans equal based on their crime and not their color.
Until black mothers don’t have to have The Talk with their children that they need to be more careful than their white counterparts.
Until true and lasting change happens, we will see more people dead. Protests will continue to happen and riots will shake the streets.
There Has Been And Will Be Love
In all the violence, there have also been amazing examples of love and understanding. I saw a picture in our local paper showing our Chief of Police meeting with community members to ‘bridge the gap’ between law enforcement and black Americans.
In cities that have been burned and painted over by rioters, people of every race are gathering to clean and rebuild.
It gives me hope that there is still enough together-ness to latch onto. There have been times in the last few days where I’ve worried we’ve gone too far. It occurred to me that these riots could very well be the modern-day equivalent of the Boston Tea Party if we don’t figure out how to come together.
We can still have faith in the American people, though.
There’s a lot of trust to rebuild and a lot of institutionalized racism that needs to be recognized and deconstructed.
But for the first time in modern history it appears that we’re taking those steps. That the words of black Americans are being heard and sympathized with. I’d be willing to bet the collective online ‘literature’ of racism in America has doubled in the last few days and is finally being read with eyes of understanding instead of judgement.
“Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8)
My hope is to love deep enough that I can help to heal the divide that God never intended. And I will research and seek out ways for that love to take action. The world doesn’t need another Facebook post (although they can’t hurt)…it needs love with legs.
A Different World
We’re living in a different world today than yesterday. And tomorrow will be different again.
It’s been hard to keep up with the changes and it feels terrifying at moments. I sincerely worry about the future of our country and world.
Which means I also sincerely pray for the future of our country and world. The most ardent prayer warrior in the Bible (in my humble opinion) was David. That man knew how to call out to God.
I hope we all pray like David for our brothers and sisters who are hurting. For our world that is suffering, in one way or another, from the pandemic.
I hope we also take a minute – or more – to listen to others. There is a lot of pain in this world that has nothing to do with current events.
Open your ears with me and listen to what people are actually saying.
It might just make a difference in the way their world looks tomorrow when they wake up!
With that parting thought and with love,
Don’t forget it. Pin it!