Two weeks ago, our family experienced a trauma. The details of who, what, when and why are not nearly as important as our family’s privacy, so I’m not going to be discussing the details of that here.
What IS important is that we were blessed to have first responders who came and handled the situation with compassion and restraint and absolute professionalism. (I will admit to you now that in the moment, I was frustrated with some of the decisions that were made, but even then those frustrations were mild. More about that later…) Our family member was treated with respect even though they were not being respectful. They were treated with compassion by first responders who understood that there was much more going on and that the abuse being hurled at them was not personal. My family member was truly taken care of and is getting help. The system worked for us. Everything worked like it is SUPPOSED to work.
And I never really gave it a second thought. It never really occurred to me that it wouldn’t go like it should.
Two weeks later, I have never been so thankful for that blessing. Because this is NOT the experience for a LOT of people across world, across my country, in my own state and city and community. A lot of those people are black and people of color and/or are from a different socio-economic background as I am.
And that is not ok.
I understand that there are so many other forces at work right now in the chaos that has erupted in my country. We’ve been dealing with something unprecedented (in our lifetimes, anyway) for the last few months. There is instability everywhere I turn, and I know that there are people and groups who want to and who are trying to take advantage of that chaos for their own agendas.
I understand that I live in a tiny corner of the word. I live in a little section of my city where it’s pretty safe and secure. I can depend that good cops will help when I call for them. I do not face persecution or bad treatment on a daily basis. I have had minimal (actually I would say inconsequential) experience with being pre-judged or unfairly treated and while those few instances stung badly, I would not ever compare them to what other people live on a daily basis. (I admit, there have been times I did believe I understood because of my inconsequential experiences… I was naive.) I admit that I am glad that I don’t have those experiences. I admit that I feel guilty that I’m glad. I feel lost and pretty useless in this situation.
But I love people. I love people of all colors and all religions. I love good cops. I love Jesus. (I get mad at all of them sometimes because I’m human, but I love them even when I’m mad.)
And I want to do better.
I want my experience to be the norm for everyone. I want it to be normal for anyone of any color and religion and economic status to be able to call the first responders when they need help and be able to have the expectation and confidence that they will be treated with respect and compassion and professionalism. Not fear for their life.
I want to do whatever I can to help my little corner of the world (because I have to start somewhere) get closer to that. I want to keep my eyes open for opportunities to do that.
I’m going to learn. This means I’m going to shut up more and listen more. I’m a talker by nature so this is extra hard for me. I’m going to listen to what I’m hearing. I’m going to analyze and evaluate my own gut reactions before speaking. Like after the immediate chaos of our own incident died down and I took some time to re-evaluate my frustration with those details that upset me. After I got some distance from it and looked back, especially through the filter of what is happening today in the wake of George Floyd’s death, I both understand better and agree with the decisions that were made. And I am grateful. I’m grateful that people who’d had a lot more training and experience with the kind of situation we were dealing with were there and that their training kicked in and allowed them to handle it appropriately, resulting in a much higher likelihood of a positive outcome (which I am happy to tell you has happened). Our situation did not end in an escalation. Thank God. Literally.
I’m going to show up. This means I’m going to pay attention to what is going on around me and I’m not going to assume I know what is going on or that I know the whole story. I am going to ask questions. I’m going to engage. I’m going to be respectful.
(I’m probably going to screw up from time to time and I’m praying that my fellow man will forgive me this… But I’m going to keep trying.)
Because in order to DO better and BE better we have to do more than just say we’re praying and sending good thoughts. We have to SHOW UP. Of course, I am going to be praying because we need all of that we can get (“we” meaning humanity in general). But I am also going to participate.
It’s going to be uncomfortable. I’m uncomfortable even writing this. But I – we (Christians… this is us) – haven’t been called to be uncomfortable. In fact, we have been told that we need to expect hardship and difficulty when we stand up as Christians (and don’t get me started on how standing up for and caring for our fellow humans is a cornerstone of our faith). A lot of us have been blessed by comfort – and I think we need to acknowledge that it has also paralyzed us.
This world of ours… It’s kind of f*cked up. It’s a fallen world and we are fallen people, I get it. And we’ve created a lot of this mess ourselves. We can’t just sit here and blame it all on the devil and dark forces. We aren’t innocent spectators in a spiritual war. We are participants – and we are participants that change sides constantly. All of us.
So, while I’m going to DO what I can, I am ALSO going to be praying.
I’m praying for A Great Unf*ckening – of my city, of my country, of the world.
It’s okay – you can be uncomfortable with what I’m calling it. I understand and acknowledge that it’s pretty coarse. So is the situation. It’s impolite. Improper. You can call it something more religious-y if that helps you. A Great Enlightenment. A Great Healing. Whatever works for you.
For me, I need to acknowledge that this is a pretty f*cked up situation. We have some f*cked up attitudes, beliefs, traditions, systems, thought patterns, etc.
By “we” I mean E V E R Y O N E.
All the people. All the places. All the colors.
And definitely me, too.
So, I want to do whatever I can to help unf*cken the world.
Here I am.
Bring on the Great Unf*ckening.