Why Do We? Why Don’t We?

Why Do We? Why Don’t We?

There are so many thoughts running through my mind right now I pray that I can do justice to what I am thinking in this post!

As we work our way through the Covid-19 quarantine and our new normal we are confronted with the murder of George Floyd and Black Lives Matter movement. Protests, violence, the additional murder of Rayshard Brooks.

So yesterday morning I was listening to Don Lemon’s new Podcast “Silence Is Not An Option”. He starts the podcast off with an absolutely thought provoking statement…

We live in a society where it’s no longer enough to simply not be racist—we must proactively choose to be antiracist. And that choice means showing up and doing the work, every single day.

Don Lemon- Silence Is Not An Option

Questions throughout the podcast brought so many questions and thoughts to my already overloaded brain.

Let me start with a little bit of my history. I grew up in Parma, OH a white suburb of Cleveland. One day my husband asked me how many black kids we had in school. I laughed and replied back “Are you kidding me? We didn’t even have any black families living in Parma.” I am embarrassed to say that it wasn’t until the mid 1980’s that Parma was forced to integrate and that was not without a fight. I grew up in a prejudicial household, not only toward blacks, but toward any person of color. When I was in high school I took a class on Afro-American Literature (which by the way ended up being one of my favorite classes ever) and I thought my grandmother was going to disown me. “Why do you want to read those books” is what she would say. A black person would come on TV and she would turn the channel off. I loved my gran greatly and I never said anything. I kept silent. But, I continued throughout my growing up fighting the prejudice in my family and swore I or any children I would ever raise would not ever think this way. We are all God’s children and He loves us no matter whether we are red and yellow, black or white- we are precious in His sight. But was that enough? But, when I would hear someone make a racist comment or demean someone of color I didn’t always speak up. I was afraid to. I didn’t want to offend them or get into an argument or conflict with them.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Yesterday on FB one of my friends had posted she was fed up and working through it. The thread went on with lots of comments, but one struck me to the core. It mentioned that sometimes you just need to step away from the onslaught of insanity in order to save your own sanity and that is hard for the activist’s heart. We went on with commenting back and forth about stepping away, but it is also difficult to do because we just want to fight for what is right. I couldn’t tell you how many times I have commented on a post or posted something myself because I just feel it in my heart that I need to say something, it must be the Esther in me to say something, but then I find myself deleting it because I don’t want to offend someone, start a FB back and forth, tit for tat or make anyone mad at me, etc. So I delete the comment or post and continue on with my life.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Then last night we were watching Padma Lakshmi’s “Taste The Nation”. Her guest, Ali Wong, talked about her upbringing as a Chinese-American. She stated something to the effect that her Father lived by parables and one of them was to “worry about what your family thinks, but don’t worry about what others think”. Really? Tough to hear for someone that is a 1000% people pleaser!

Of course my mind then jumps to another question. In talking with Jon this morning I likened this to sharing our faith. I know this is a big jump, but hang in there with me. As life-long Lutherans we are, I think it’s safe to say, not always very vocal and comfortable in sharing our faith, our story, making disciples, telling people about Jesus or God or anything religious. . What’s even worse is that as a Pastoral family we tend to stay away from that conversation because of the difficulty of parishioners not knowing what we mean. Because of heavily imposed social standards we sit silently rather than witnessing to someone, maybe losing the chance of bringing them to Jesus and changing their life.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

This morning my first thought as I sat down to FB was…

I will not post… I will not comment… I will not post.

I step away. I don’t speak up. I sit silently.

Then the wheels started turning and the puzzle pieces started coming together. I truly believe that God places situations, people, podcasts,tv show, whatever in front of us for a reason. There is a reason I listened to the podcast yesterday. There is a reason my friend had posted that she was fed up. There is a reason I heard what Ali Wong had to say.

Why do I step away? Why don’t I speak up? Why do I sit silently?

Stepping away, not speaking up, sitting silent is not an option.