Every once in a while I hear or see something that strikes a chord and lies heavy on my heart. Sometimes it’s a song or TV show, other times it’s a dream or a conversation with a friend. This time, it’s a story I read online and I just can’t shake it.
Glennon from Momastery shared this story on her Facebook wall yesterday…
Monday night, my daughters and I were talking about Bubba and Tisha’s experience and what was happening in Charleston and the black and white responses around the country. We ended up looking at pictures of some old civil rights marches. The girls were quiet. My youngest daughter pointed at some of the marchers and said, “We would have marched with those people, right mama?” I almost said Yes. I almost said: Of course, yes, baby. Yes. But then my older daughter said, “I don’t know. I mean, we’re not marching now.”
We’re not marching now.
I’m not marching now.
That line hit me hard, like a rock to the chest. I can talk the talk. I can say I’m not racist, I can look at the news and say “How terrible! How wrong! How sad!” I can share meaningful well-written articles on Facebook that share my views. I can say I’m standing on the right side of this battle, but I am not marching. I am not really doing anything. I am watching the oppressed from the sidelines. I’m quietly waving a little “go team” flag when what they need is for me to jump in and play the game.
In fifty years I won’t be able to look back and say I did the right thing, I stood up for those who were hurting or fought for equal rights. I want to love my neighbors (neighbors = EVERYONE) as I love myself, but I am not doing that. I “say” a lot, but the truth is that actions speak much louder than words. It’s time I take action and truly help my neighbors.
The problem is I’m not sure how. I’m not even sure for whom I should be “marching”. Blacks. Women, Gays. Abused children. Orphans. The Homeless. I know the answer is everyone. Everyone is in, and each and every one of us deserves a life of love and happiness. So where do I begin?
Today, I decided the first step was to speak to someone with some insight. Opening up a conversation is the first step to growing and learning. I called one of my only close black friends (which is a very sad fact) and asked for her help. I asked her about racism, the Confederate flag, the current headlines and how each of those affect her. I teared up when I told her about the quote, “not marching” and how I want to be on the right side. I’m embarrassed I never discussed any of this with her sooner.
She listened and she told me her story, how racism is very much alive, abundant and affects her daily. She gets that it’s easy to brush it under the rug when it doesn’t directly affect you, but it’s time we start lifting that rug and pulling out all of those hidden and hard issues. Most importantly she said that this is lying heavy on my heart for a reason. It’s my conscience begging me to listen. She suggested praying about it and then acting on it. It’s ultimately up to me to take action.
I’m still unsure of how I’ll start my “march”, but I’m ready and willing to learn the true meaning of how to love my neighbor.