Monthly Archives: May 2020

Speak Up

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I don’t usually speak my mind about controversial issues.  I don’t like to ruffle feathers.  I know now that makes me part of the problem.

I read a post recently that shook me.  I told my mom about it.  A few days later, I told my husband about it.  Apparently, It bothered me more than I realized it did.  I can’t stop thinking about it.  I can’t wrap my brain around the fact that a person could be so wrapped up in his own feelings and anger that he completely missed the fact that a human being died.

A person died.  He lost his life.  He stopped breathing and no longer lives among us.  And he died because people can’t get along.  He died because anger won.

Can we put aside the argument about who was at fault for a moment?  Can we not argue about whether or not the police officer used correct protocol or brutality?  Can we not argue whether or not the young man was an innocent victim or a criminal resisting arrest?  Can we simply look at the fact that there is hatred and anger among us and that is the root of the problem?

But you know, I don’t really believe that.  I think underneath the hatred and anger is fear and misunderstanding.  We don’t know each other.  We are too divided.  We set up camps on our separate sides of the proverbial railroad and we keep our distance.  Then we make assumptions as to why the other side does what they do and we get angry with them when they don’t do what we would have done.  But we don’t know why they do what they do.  Do we?  We don’t really know.  We just assume.

How do we embrace what we don’t know?  How do we love what we don’t know?  We can’t.  How will I know the fear a black mother feels for her black children if I never spend time getting to know a black mother?  I won’t.  How will a black man ever understand the pressures a white man feels if he never spends time with a white man?  He won’t.  It isn’t just about white people understanding black people.  It’s about all people understanding each other.  It’s about mutual understanding and respect.

We have so much we can learn from one another.  There is so much rich and beautiful culture we are missing out on because we are too ignorant and stubborn to open our eyes and see what’s right in front of us.  I say ‘we’ because I’m just as guilty as anyone.  I’ve been living in my own white bubble for too long.  It’s time to step out and start adding more color to my life.

I’m a counselor.  I work with people who have some tough issues in their lives.  I work with people who are probably hard to get along with outside of my office.  But here’s the thing, I know their stories.  I know what they struggle with.  I don’t see the tough guy exterior they portray.  I don’t see the anger they put forth.  I see the scared little boy that’s inside.  I see the little girl that has been hiding for years and protects herself by pushing everyone away.  I see the real person, so I can love the real person.  Do you see my point?  When you take the time to get past the exterior, you generally find out that the anger is just a cover for some kind of hurt or fear.  When you take the time to get to know someone, you break down those walls.  Anger loses.  Love wins.

Love.  That’s what it’s all about.  That’s the bottom line.  I know we don’t all subscribe to this way of life, but for me, as a Christian, love is my end game.  Jesus commanded us to love.  If we are so focused on who was right and who was wrong that we forget to grieve the loss of a precious life, that is an absence of love.  Anger won.  Love lost.

Our problems are bigger than racism, I believe that.  But right now, racism is what we are facing.  It’s a big issue.  All I need to know is that God loves all people equally.  Black, brown, white.  Male, female.  Rich, poor.  Educated, ignorant.  CEO, janitor.  Criminal, rule-follower.  He loves us all the same and He wants us to love one another.  How absurd for anyone to think that the color of skin dictates worth!  That doesn’t even make sense.  That makes as much sense as saying that blondes are superior to brunettes.  White over brown.  No one would buy that argument over hair color, so why does anyone buy that argument over skin color?  Senseless.

It’s very simple.  If love wins, anger loses.  If we know each other, we don’t have to fear each other.  Without fear, we don’t have to put up shields of hate and anger.

Peace.

 

Grief

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I’m all in my feelings today.  The grief has begun to set in, and quite honestly, I’m a mess at the moment.  I’m having a moment of the ‘It’s not fairs.’  The ‘I don’t want tos’ and the ‘I shouldn’t have tos’ are along for the ride, as well.  Basically, I’m delightful.

I went to the store a few days ago and started picking out cards for various people.  You know, goodbye cards.  Goodbye cards.  How do you say goodbye to a life that you’ve lived for eight years?  I mean, that may not seem like a long time to you, but to me that may as well be an eternity.  In my entire life, I hadn’t lived in any one home for eight years, until here.  In my adult life, I hadn’t lived in any city longer than three and a half years, until here.  This is home to me.  And now I’m buying goodbye cards.

And my heart is breaking.  I’m not sure I can handle it.

I had lunch with a friend today.  It was so nice.  It was comfortable.  Familiar.  There was none of that get-to-know-you stuff that makes my social anxiety want to rear its ugly head.  There was no need for small talk to fill the awkwardness of new relationship.  It was just me and my friend, relaxing together with our feet in the sand.  Ah, beach life.  How I will miss it.

My son will be staying here to go to college.  He is moving out at the end of this month to live with a friend for the summer until he moves into his dorm.  That means that in 13 days my middle child will no longer be living at home.  Oh, how I will miss him.

Today, I signed up to be in involved in something at our new church in Houston.  I’m sure it’s because I was already sad and grieving today, but it hit me that I will once again be the new person.  I will be starting all over with making new friends and finding my place in my new life.  This is something that I’ve learned to do, and I’ve learned to do it well, but can I tell you a secret?  It scares me to my core.  I have really bad social anxiety.  I just know how to do things even though I’m scared or nervous.  I do them anyway.  I put a smile on my face, and I do them anyway.  I’m almost always glad I did, but it’s still hard.

It hit me a few days ago that all of these big changes and goodbyes are all coming at the same time.  We will leave military life, our home, our friends, and our son in Florida, and move to Texas.  Just a few days later, we will take our daughter back to school, and will suddenly be down to one child.  For a few weeks, we will essentially be homeless.  In a matter of days, our lives will have drastically changed.

Part of me feels like maybe I’m having a bit of a pity party for myself, but the other part of me is looking at the big picture and cutting myself some slack.  There is a lot going on in my life right now.  A lot of change is occurring all at once.  Lots of goodbyes.  Lots of chapters ending.  Lots of grief.  I’m just giving myself some space to feel it.

In the midst of all of this, though, God has provided for us every step of the way.  We sold our house in record time.  We each have jobs to go to.  We will have a new home to go to quickly after we arrive.  There could really be so much more stress related to this move, but God has relieved so much of that for us.  We are truly blessed.  So, as much as I know I have to walk through the grief of this move, I keep reminding myself that God must have something really special waiting for us to do in Houston.  He has really paved the way.  I’m excited to see what He has in store!

I’m Not Ready

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I’m not sure what it was about today, but today was the day.  It was the day that it hit me.  It’s likely that we won’t be back at church yet before it’s time for us to move.  Do you know what that means?  That means we won’t get to say our goodbyes to so many people.  It means we may have had all of our ‘lasts’ and didn’t even know it.  It means the hugs and farewells that I’ve been planning for who knows how long may never happen.

And I’m not ready for that.

I’m not ready to accept that a huge part of this chapter of my life has already come to a close and I didn’t even recognize it.  It just quietly passed without so much as a nod in its direction.  That’s not how it was supposed to be.  Not at all.  Not. At. All.

No more classes.  No more shake-n-bakes.  No more rehearsals.  No more sound checks.  No more singing with the praise.  My praise team.  Ah.  My people.  This is where it really hurts.

Something happens when you sing with a group of people.  You form a bond that you can’t really describe.  You know what I’m talking about if you’ve been part of a singing group.  These people become a second family in a sense.  They become special.  These people are special.  I’ve been singing with some of them for nearly eight years.  That’s a long time – longer than I’ve sung with any other group.  And I didn’t even get a chance to tell them goodbye, much less sing with them one last time.  And my heart is breaking just a little bit.  Ok, maybe a lot.

There will be so many people and things that I will have to say goodbye to.  I will shed many tears.  Alright, many more tears.  I’ve already shed a few.  But this one particular group of people will be harder to say goodbye to than most anything else.

When we went into this whole social distancing thing however many weeks ago, we still had about three months before it would be time for us to go.  It wasn’t time to start saying goodbye yet.  I took it for granted that we would be back up and running before it was time for us to pack up and leave town.  Now it looks like that may not be the case.  Now it looks like we may have missed our chance to say goodbye.  But I wasn’t ready then.  I’m not ready now.  I still have seven weeks, well almost.  I should still be able to put off goodbyes for another few weeks.  But it’s all messed up.

I don’t want to close this chapter of my life without saying a proper goodbye.  I want another opportunity to see my people.  I want us to be together and do the thing we do – praise Jesus.  That’s what we do.  That’s how I want our goodbye to be.  That’s how it should be when the time comes.  Not now.  Not like this.

Because I’m not ready.