We want to believe that we would have been in the resistance against Hitler, that we would have never owned slaves, that we would have hated segregation. We want to believe that we would have hid Jews. It is so easy to say that now, because our history books told us that those things were wrong. It is so easy to say now, because we didn’t live it. We didn’t have to get uncomfortable, we didn’t have to discuss with loved ones who don’t agree, we didn’t have to wrestle with our own inconvenience and conflict. We simply had to read that page in the history book and move on. How easy.
We have been given yet another gift in 2020 of checking our privilege. This year is turning our world inside out and I am freaking glad. We needed it. For too long we could order food or a car to come to our door at the tap of a button on our fancy phones. We could always get what we wanted at the grocery store. We could fill our schedule with activity after activity, running away from any pain or discomfort. We could live in our little white suburban bubbles unaffected while others suffered, while black lives suffered. That is not living, that is ignoring.
I am not glad people have lost their lives & businesses from Covid19, I am not glad another black life has been unjustly taken. But I am glad we are finally waking up. That we are feeling pain. We have been numb for too long.
Do looting and riots have me uneasy? Of course. But I also feel deep empathy for those doing the looting too. After all, anger is sad’s bodyguard. Under the anger, under the rage, there is a whole lotta hurt going on.
It has always been interesting to me that all the parenting books I have read about the crazy emotional processing of toddler years have had this one similar theme.
Honor the emotion behind the action, not the action itself.
I think of that often not just when I see my 4 year old hitting & screaming, but also MAN this is not just true of children, it is true of adults too. We are no different. When we feel pain or feel unheard, we get angry. We do things like flick somebody off on the highway, snap on our spouse or send off a passive aggressive email.
We must honor the voices that feel SO unheard, they feel the need to shout. We must have the courage to look at the heart behind the actions, especially when we feel the actions are not justified. We must bite our tongues & honor the pain. I am not asking you to condone destruction, I am simply asking you to consider the wound.
I am committed to walking into pain. To leave my armor of privilege at the door. To honor the wounds of others. To stand for those who need me, no matter what inconvenience or discomfort it brings. It is the only way.