More than wishful thinking


We are all shopping and chopping and flying and driving and working and studying and praying and worrying and hopinghopinghoping for a better day tomorrow.

I sitting in my old rocking chair trying hard not to let the news overwhelm me. I am thinking of Ferguson and Michael Brown and Officer Wilson and my friends who live in and around St. Louis. I am thinking about all the parents who have said painful good-byes to their children and I am thinking how much healing we have to do in this country.

Tomorrow I will sit at a table with my sister and her partner in her new home that she worked so hard to attain. I will meet her partner’s family and my kids will wrestle with their father and terrorize the pets and I will smile and nod and bring myself back to the moment I am in.

I am finally beginning to realize at my life point that our job is to take in the moments. I now look at them like energy- the storing up of light to fuel the darker days.

I saw a documentary once about kids in India- impoverished, living in what many in my life would describe as absolute squalor and yet these kids were happy! Their eyes were bright, their smiles wide and what I noticed more than anything was that they were alive. They played with garbage as if it was a new toy. They sang and danced and ran and the universal whooping of happy kids was not mistaken.

So I know that the where and what of our lives is not nearly as important as the how.

And that is why I feel like we all have to get pretty serious about the HOW. How are we going to move forward in the aftermath of Ferguson? Every single time we have a national tragedy there is heartfelt prose and little action. And what I have finally realized is that we can no longer look outside ourselves for answers.

I have asked myself some tough questions. I am white. I am privileged. I live in a white community. I am economically secure. So what do I have to offer? What can I do to push my own boundaries, to be included in a conversation that matters because clearly people are not being heard.

When I was in Africa alone, I did not feel scared simply because it did not occur to me to be scared. Sure, it felt weird to be white in a sea of really beautiful black skin yet had harm come my way I would have been shocked because I have always walked around not expecting anyone to harm me. I do not know what it is like to live in a constant state of fear for my personal safety. And yet in this country I am baffled by people who live in America who live this way all of the time. I am baffled and I am sad that I am baffled because clearly I have missed something pretty big.

We get to be thankful tomorrow. We get to love our family and take in glow of candles on the table and the clamor of giggling kids and the scents and the smells of a delicious meal as we huddle with our little families around the Thanksgiving table. And we also get to say to ourselves, “Not everyone has this. What can I do?”

I found THIS and it looks pretty interesting. I am going to check it out. I am going to start a meeting. I am going to try to talk to people different than me, I am going to do it because not doing it seems unthinkable. This was started because a woman was fed up with the lack of genuine conversation and debate within the political arena. She, like me, firmly believes there just has to be a better way and I believe that the parameters she has created for conversation would be great to use as we navigate our way into talking about Ferguson as well.

Plus, red boots!

I am also going to talk to my kids about their privileged life and think of ways to push their boundaries as well. I think all of us need to do quite a bit more thinking outside ourselves.

Peaceful Thanksgiving to all of you. Store up so you can show up. That’s my plan. What is yours?