I don’t know where to start….except to say that, like most Americans, today, I woke with a heavy heart.
Before going on, I want to be clear…this is not a result of last night’s shooting in Dallas, or the live-streamed shooting that went public preceeding it. That was not my tipping point. Although it did cause me to write…for that, I’m sorry…I’m sorry it took so long.
Instead, it’s the culminating effect of what’s been happening for the past few years in our country.
Emotions are running high. Words that feel like they should be encouraging are perceived (maybe rightfully so) as insulting. Friends are taking sides against friends. Feelings that are real are being trampled and broken. The question “why?” Is being asked around dinner tables out loud and inside the hearts and heads of parents as we lay in bed at night. It’s easy to feel like we are walking on eggshells.
The past few years have been a time of great change. We have moved forward in so many ways as a nation. But it seems as though every forward motion has ripped a bandage off an unsealed wound, bringing to light issues that we so often don’t want to deal with. Issues that are real, and raw and hard.
These unhealed wounds are leading to fear…to doubt…and to hate.
I don’t have the answer. But I can say I feel. That’s all, I feel.
I feel for my black friends, for my friends who are parents who have to teach their sons to “comply, comply, comply” and still worry that they might not come home at night.
I feel for my police friends and their families who are in their profession to make a difference, but could be targeted for their uniforms.
I feel for my gay friends, who feel hatred from those who should be reaching out a loving hand, who now have even more reason to fear.
I feel for my Muslim friends, who are questioned, doubted and feared every time they leave their homes.
I feel for my white friends, who cannot understand the emotions of our black counterparts, who feel the divide that’s growing but don’t know how to make a tangible difference without coming across as privileged, or, worse, racist.
I don’t have the answers. But, I know that we need to make an effort to understand one another. Not to be quick with the #alllivesmatter hash tag that minimilizes hurt. Not to jump on a social media campaign. Not to claim to “be there” when we are not.
Instead, we need to reach across these borders and fault lines. To be clear that we may not understand, but that we love those on the “other” side, and that we want to bridge the gap. We need to stop seeing “other” as a thing…period.
We need to be a nation on our knees, willing to get in the trenches for and with our neighbors.
Until we put aside our own “knowledge” and seek to understand those around us, healing won’t begin.
And our country desperately needs to heal. To hear and feel and act in love. To grow closer to those around us rather than farther away.
Who is willing to bridge the gap? Who is willing to reach out in love and say “I’m here. I don’t understand, but I want to. I want to stand with you.”? Who is willing to admit that maybe we have been calloused in the past, but we are willing to grow forward together?
I’m here. I want to learn. I want to understand. I want to put away my own fear of stepping on eggshells. To get dirty, to feel the hurt and to show love in a way that makes a difference…are you?