I sit here watching her sleep. I notice the simple rhythm of breathing as her tiny body rises ever so gently with each inhale. One arm folds around in a self-hug, her hand tucked warmly in the crevice of the elbow. A sudden movement and she rubs her eye. A sleepy reminder that this nap is not ready to be over. I watch her and my heart aches.
What kind of world will she grow up in?
One that values the lives of all people or one that will teach her that no where is safe? Not even schools. Or sidewalks. Or churches.
What kind of world will she grow up in?
A world wrought with the horrors of violence and racism, sexism and hate? Or one of justice and compromise, conversation and respect?
Will the things we teach her now matter at all when she is 5 or 15 or 25?
As someone who was born with white skin, how can we teach her that people who look different are still brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, friends, co-workers, schoolmates? And by the time she is grown will the barriers be drawn even tighter than they are now?
I sit here watching her sleep. So peacefully. Not a fear in the world. And my heart aches.
My heart aches because she is so innocent to the horrific things that happen in this world.
My heart aches because there are so many children who do not know the peace she knows...and never will.
My heart aches because every day we come to a church and we always feel safe. We take it for granted. And now for so many people, predominately those whose skin is darker than mine, that sense of safety at church has been replaced with fear, and hate, and blood. Where else can they go?
How long, O Lord, how long?
We all want to do something to create positive and lasting change.
The sooner we step beyond ourselves and our own sense of privilege and pride, the sooner we can cry with those who are afflicted. The sooner we can mourn the loss of our siblings in Christ. And the sooner we can step into our specific role in the work of justice and peace.
I don't know where to begin, or what to do, so I suppose I will start with myself and the precious little girl whom I call daughter.
Love people. ALL people.
Racism is still a problem. What can I do to recognize it and be a part of healing rather than division?
You never know what someone is going through. Be kind. Be kind. Be kind.
The world has so much to offer. Why do we feel the need to live as though it has been given to only a token few?
There is nothing we can do to reverse what has been done - violence towards our black brothers and sisters; violence toward those who love different, look different, believe different than another.
As a minister I wish I could say I understood why these things happen. It would be foolish to pretend that I do.
But as a minister, and most importantly as just an ordinary person who loves God and tries to follow Jesus, I believe with every ounce of my being that God created the world in love for us all. For us all. And we are all - all - created in that holy image. How can we destroy one another with our words, our hate, our prejudice? How? And almost more heartbreakingly - how can we go on living as though it doesn't matter? How?
As I watch my daughter sleep, my heart aches for those whose lives were ripped apart last night in Charleston. And for those who walk cautiously because they are afraid of people with skin like mine. And how can I blame them? So much damage has been done. We must do what we can in the places we live to turn the tables of hate into platforms of peace.
It starts with one. One sleeping baby to wake up. One sleeping nation to be fed up with the way things are.
To my daughter - wake up to the world God so loves. Claim you love it too. And do everything in your power to see that love filter through every corner...of every place…you go. Hate is limited but love knows no bounds. Choose to be a part of love.
Praying for Charleston. Praying for Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.