Friday, July 8, 2016

One doesn't represent them all.

Like about 90% of our nation, my heart is heavy today. My mind is whirling and my burden is great.

Upon hearing of the most recent news this morning, i have found myself desperate to read the right thing, find the right words, or make sense of it all.

But i can't.

As i sat and watched my kids swimming lessons this morning, i tried to pondered which side i was on, what each side was feeling, where our future is headed. I sat  in the stands and thought about the Green Bay Packers shirt that i was wearing. Its a beautiful green with words that say "They hate us cause they ain't us". And i felt out of place. I thought that in a sea of Minnesotans nobody wants to see green and yellow.  I know this because this year i experienced my first taste of my own racism. It took place at Target field, and it was against the Canadians. But still.

When they stood up and cheered as their SECOND batter hit one out of the park in the FIRST inning at OUR stadium. I felt a rage inside of me. I thought i might want that whole stinking row of ugly blue and white jerseys to fall over the second level balcony. Bye, Bye Kanucks!  I felt it. I felt like, don't you dare come into MY house and throw that home run in my face. Its you 6 versus all of us, buddy. You lose no matter what.

Actually, we lost. By alot. I'm over it though, i swear.

It was a great reminder to me of my love for the Packers in a Vikings state.  Yes, i love them. I support them. I wear their colors. But I'll never hoot an holler for them, (like a Kanuck!) in front of a Viking fan out of spite. Because this is Vikings territory. And i want to be respectful of that. I want to win because my team is better than yours (obviously). Nothing more.

We don't need mouths to win. Just talent.

The reason this relates to today is because i felt what it was to 1.) Be out of place. And 2.) to not like someone who wasn't like me.

Its not exactly like racism, but kind of.

Its a foundation.

So as i sat in the gym i thought about what i would do if i was black. I'd follow the rules. I'd atc like they wanted me to act. I'd be polite.I'd listen. I wouldn't question. I 'd be quiet. 

....I'd act white.....

And there it was.

I think its important to say this. We aren't all the same. Can't we just acknowledge that?

Do we have to pretend we are?

Different isn't better or worse. Its different.

Our cultures, as i have watched, are different.

So how does that translate to killing one another?

I can't figure it out.

I know there is so much that is taboo these days. Things i say can get turned around and used against me. Someone can peg me for a racism. But i am only trying to start from a point of honesty.

Can't we just be different?

Don't we all have a few rotten eggs in our culture?  

Its doesn't make the rest bad though, does it.

Some officers are corrupt. Yes.  Some criminals are black. Yes.

But is it our color or uniform that define us?

Isn't it our integrity? Our foundation? Our respect for our fellow countryman? Our love for one another?

I hate this.

The black community is in despair. Clearly. 
Crying out to be heard. Understandably.

But after last nights very intentional and calculated killings of police officers, how can one show that community sympathy!?

It makes my blood boil.

Two wrongs do not make a right. So now what?

I keep trying to remind myself that each person is an individual and they are not defined by anything else.

Black, white, uniformed, or otherwise.

We can't change that we're white any more than they can change that they're black. 

It just is what it is.

Neither is better.

And its no ones fault.

As i drove home from swimming, i saw a police officer. My heart broke a little. I wanted to offer my sympathies and tell him i was on his side. That i know they rush in when we need them. That each traffic stop could be their last. That the pressure that is on them is overwhelming and that i acknowledge it and appreciate it. That Blue lives matter.

But i couldn't. 

I won't lie, i thought about what will happen the next time i get pulled over and how stinking respectful and slow moving I'm going to be. It made me think about how i would feel if i were black, or raising a black child.

There's no doubt its a concern.

And if I'm honest, a piece of me is thankful that I'm not.

Its the truth. 

I raise my kids to be respectful. Especially to our military and our police.  On 4th of July i was getting after Junior for using the word "cop" instead of police officer, because i didn't like the sound of it.

Those who protect us rank high.

When Junior says "Uh oh, a cops gonna get me!" I immediately take him by the arm and tell him that the officers protect us. They don't get us. They protect us. When we need them, they come.  There's not a question about it!

And yet, here two black men lay dead, for reasons that look glaringly wrong and unjust.

We don't know what transpired between Philando and that officer, because the recording didn't happen until after the shots were fired.  

I do know that the police officer was most certainly on the verge of hysterics when he screamed out. 

I just don't think we can say for certain why. If it was race based or out of fear for his life. 

As for Mr. Sterling, from what i saw on that video-there was zero justification for shooting him.

Its sickening.

But is this a black and white problem~or a (sinful) human problem?

Have we gone so far off the deep end and are so afraid to offend or be honest, that we're all on the verge of snapping?!

Can we stand for nothing anymore without being labeled?

I hate this.

And i felt myself falling prey to it.  I thought, as i watched my kids today, should i tell them? Is this a moment that i can teach them? Or will my prejudices be obvious. 

I don't like disrespect. Period. Especially to an authority figure. A parent, a coach, and officer.

I'm a rule follower by nature and when i have respect for an authority figure, i listen. If someone told me, "Don't move!" I wouldn't.

But how can we trust those who are sworn to protect us when we see videos of bad cops doing horrible things?

We do it because our trust isn't in man.

Our trust is in God.

And that means we have to trust the system.

We believe that there is good in this world. Not all police officers are bad and not all people of ethnicity are bad.

I have to keep telling myself that so I don't fall into the trap of hating a whole group over a few bad apples. On either side.

In the movie 'Lone Survivor' i am constantly reminded of the glaring contradiction of racism and hating a whole group because of a few.

When that team of Seals are faced with a predicament on that hill when some Afghans find them, they're faced with a difficult decision on what to do with them. Kill them? Release them? Or tie them up and leave?

I remember that moment so vividly in that movie because i know what i would do. I felt a hatred, in honor of our troops, for the middle eastern people. How could they? I thought. They're all bad.

Its embarrassing, but I've thought it.

But as the movie progresses and Marcus survives--only barely--due to the fierce protection and dedication of a peace-loving tribe of Afghanistan's, i am always reminded that a person is an individual, not a whole culture.

Its is a great reminder of how one group can try to destroy, while another group--of that same ethnicity or belief system--can put their lives on the line~for man.

And its on my mind today.

We are called to love.

And i want to love.

At Starbucks today my favorite barista, whom i love, who happens to be black, helped me. As i waited in line, chatting with her, i also watched as the pharmacist, who is kind, funny, and brilliant, and also black, sat behind me.

I wanted so badly to look into their eyes and to say i was sorry.  I was sorry for what they feel that i will never understanding. I was sorry for an oppression that i am not even aware of.

I was sorry for the few bad, in a world of good.

On both of our sides.

This is the great United States of America. We are a team.  Let us not fight against one another, but stand side by side. For the love of something greater. For belief in a system. A system that, although skewed and at times unjust to the human eye, is in the hands of a very Mighty and Capable God. He's not up there sleeping on some throne: He's here with us. Each and every day.

Today, as i prayed so desperately for our nation, i also prayed that it wouldn't take a greater tragedy to pull us together once again, but that He would continue to knock and that we would run to invite Him into our lives.

Revelations 3:20 "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me."

Lord, please don't stop knocking.....


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