Honestly, this week has been a roller coaster of emotions. I don't even know if I have it in me to write about it at the moment, but I am going to try.
A few weeks ago, I read about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. The jogger that was shot dead while running through a neighborhood. This is ignorant of me to say, but sometimes I watch the news and pretend that everything it says is a lie. "That couldn't happen here." "That can't be true." But I saw that and instantly knew it was the truth...I mean, there was a video to prove it. And it stung. Maybe it stung because I go running in random neighborhoods very often, almost every week. Maybe it is because I have walked through partially built homes to check out the floor plan. Maybe it is because I do those things without the fear of getting killed because of my skin color. I made a promise to myself after I watched that video that I wouldn't be so silent about racism and I would at the very least support the African American community by posting my hurt along with theirs on Facebook.
Then this week happened. George Floyd happened. I can't watch the video. It hurts to see it. But right now, it hurts to go on social media and see friends of mine hurting. They are scared. They feel defeated and confused. How can this keep happening and what can we do to stop it? I obviously have no answers. I have lived my entire life thinking that racism doesn't exist like it used to. It does though. It runs so deep in our roots, our culture, and in our families. I think that most people are good and want to be good, but I think so many of us, myself included, refuses to question pieces of our past. Our sermon today at church was so good... and our pastor talked a lot about race and also a lot about Pentecost Sunday. This part hit me so hard because it directly related to both. On Pentecost, 3,000 people were baptized. That day was a HUGE day; it was the birthday of Christianity. But for it to be the birthday of Christianity, it meant that those 3,000 people had to CHOOSE to walk away from their past beliefs and traditions and start something new. It was risky, and it almost came with a death penalty, but they knew it was worth it. So those 3,000 people were publicly baptized that day and walked away from that past belief. I feel like now is a time that we can do the same. We don't have to pretend racism isn't happening anymore. We don't have to laugh at racist jokes. We don't have to victim-blame in our head. We can choose to hurt with them and love them. We can change the world for our children.
I have been thinking about the protests that are going on throughout the country. There is part of me that hates it. I think about the people that are losing jobs and their businesses because of it. Those people are innocent and I hurt for them. I thought about how I would feel if that happened to my husband's business that him and his family work SO hard on, and just imagining riots hurting that made me feel hurt and anger. So I do understand why the rioting is causing a division in our country... but I have this little voice in my head that keeps asking "but what if it were your son?"
What if....what if it was my son with his neck pressed to the ground? What if I had to watch his death getting replayed every single time I turned on the tv or looked at my phone? What if I never got to hear his voice again?
.... what if it happened to a cousin that was jogging a few weeks ago? and my niece that was shot in her own house a few months ago? And what if my grandparents told me stories of not being able to go to the same schools and eat at the same places and the hurt that they endured?
…. what if I had used every hashtag possible to raise awareness and worn t-shirts and done peaceful protests and NOTHING HAD HAPPENED?.... and now my son is gone.
That voice? That voice that imagines George Floyd as my son...that voice tells me to protest and scream and bang on doors and cars and windows and beg someone to make it stop... that I can't possibly hurt anymore.
I am not living that reality though, so I don't understand. I can't possibly understand. I don't have answers. I don't even know the point of writing this... just wanted to say that every life matters. I'm sorry for the lack of understanding and the lack of change. I will do better. I will show my kids how to do better. I will ask questions. I will speak up. I will turn away from the culture of racism. We can all do better and be better for the sake of our brothers and sisters that are deeply hurting. We can hurt with them.