2016 has not been a good year for a lot of people I know. It has brought death and illness to families at church and at work. Some of these deaths have been tragically sudden and other’s followed illnesses. I have been in the company of friends who have lost a parent, two dads and one mom this year all over the summer. My prayers are with them all of the time, my thoughts of them are many. I pray for their grieving processes as it the hardest thing one will ever have to go through. Trust me..the thought of it happening to me again brings me anxiety.
There have been losses of sanity in the world. People committing crimes against humanity and judging the dead. We lost all control of our moral fiber and replaced it with political jargon, media post on social media that produce anxieties, fear of the unknown with the baited concept of losing one’s superiority. Some have just now realized that life is experienced differently by everyone and thinking that life is the same for all because we all live in the same “free” world is contributing to denial. For example, I love my neighborhood where I grew up, it’s pretty much safe and all the neighbors look out for one another and love one another on the cul-de-sac… Although there is love there between neighbors, our experiences of living there have not all been the same. For example, when we first moved there in 1993-1994 we had our lawn mower stolen. Who would’ve thought it possible in a brand new neighborhood, but it happened. When we moved in we were one of three black families on that side of the suburbs. My brother had a few issues with some kids on the bus throwing around the “N” word who resided in the sticks not too far from where we lived…these experiences did not change our love for the neighborhood or the people who lived there but what it did was cause some cautious thoughts. Conversations had to be had…It caused us to be worried about our security for a while. If I told you our experiences would you tell me I was lying because you couldn’t bare to think that this safe neighborhood at one time felt not so safe for us? If I told you a life threatening experience that occurred where I had to scream for help to our neighbor who stepped in and saved my brother and I, especially my brother, from an incident that could have resulted in one or both of us being stabbed by a group of white boys when I was in middle school…would you take my experience and blame me for it? Would you tell me to start feeling safe immediately? Would you believe the media if one of us died that day from being stabbed that my brother was a thug who always had to have the last word or he was a kid who struggled in school? One of the boys dad was apart of the law enforcement. Would you believe my brother if he had told you the reason why he brought a knife to school and almost got expelled for it that it was for his own protection? What they didn’t know was we had two neighbors who were apart of law enforcement as well and one outspoken neighbor who saved us. Thank God she was there but think if none of our neighbors did anything about these boys? What if they just watched our demise because we were not their kids? Our neighbor who I screamed to, went down to the school and told the school what happened to us. To my memory I don’t remember ever seeing them again. My point is, everybody’s experiences are not the same. You cannot be a deaf, dumb or blind when you start hearing people in pain start to tell you why they are in pain. Everyone wants to feel human, wants to be heard, wants to be felt and protected from harm. Just like our situation, my neighbors did not take the blind approach. They assisted my parents and us by doing what was right. I lived to tell about it others have not been as blessed.
The society will not change unless everybody takes responsibility to watch out for their neighbors as Christ commands us to do. When I lived in Rural Virginia for a couple of years I was very cautious of myself and my surroundings. Sometimes I had fear of certain spots. I had a guidance counselor at one of my schools one day walking to work. I saw him walking as I drove by him and thought to stop, but I didn’t. I saw a police officer who had been sitting, pull out of his space and was right behind me. I wasn’t worried because I wasn’t speeding nor doing anything…When I turned into work, I guess the police officer kept straight…I sat in my truck for a minute as usual and then saw my guidance counselor arrive on foot. I asked him was he walking for fun or did he need a ride? He said oh no, he was walking because he needed it, but he was more concerned about me. He asked, “did you see that cop pull out fast and got behind you?? He was on your tail. I watched him and I was concerned. He then said Driving while black…” This shocked me coming from a caucasian man who was stuck down in rural America where time seemed to have stood still. I appreciated him in that moment for being AWARE! I knew he was an Aware individual but I didn’t know how aware. I knew that I could not be harmed or treated unfairly if he was anywhere around. I will never forget him for that!!! If you have the opportunity to influence someone to do right do it.. if you have the opportunity to change something for the better, do it. If you have an opportunity to just be honest about how uncomfortable these facts make you, fine…but never treat people as though they are less than and they should keep their traps shut. I am a successful member of society. I respect all peoples and know they have rights. I also respect leadership and authority, but I only give respect to those who think first with the rational vs irrational.
If you love one another you would not let someone use harsh words against another person due to disability, color, sex, religion or whatever. If you love one another your fears would not play tricks on your mind. Be cautious yes, but not tricked. I could go on and on, but this is enough for now.
I am praying for our nation and its decision making skills. Max Lucado quoted someone in his blog that people are voting with their middle fingers…I am praying for my students who have not had the opportunity to be freed from being under the scrutiny of the world. I pray for Christians all over to not battle each other under the light of the demon that is politics. I pray for those who have recently lost loved ones like the friends in my first paragraph. I am praying for those parents who have lost sons and daughters at the hands of the police/neighborhood watch. I am praying for the safety of police officers who are meant to serve and protect. I pray for the protestors and demonstrators, I pray for those who are deaf, dumb and blind to the disenfranchised because whatever they are doing ain’t happening on my street. Our souls have no color…We.Are.ONE