I don’t usually write political posts on this blog, but my heart has been broken again over the last few days with more, well publicized examples of white supremacy and police brutality against people of color. From Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd to Christian Cooper. From white, armed men allowed into capitol buildings with no repercussions to people gathering peacefully and unarmed to protest the murder of George Floyd being tear gassed, the discrepancies are evident, and, sadly, unsurprising.
I think one reason I really feel called to write this post though, is to encourage each of us to look at our own healing, and to be brutally honest with ourselves about the areas we still have work to do. For I don’t believe that fully healed human beings can look at another human being with so little regard, with such great fear and hate, without seeing that they, too, are created in the image of God.
I think I saw this especially in the recording done by Christian Cooper. Here was a black man making a reasonable request of a white woman to leash her dog in a sensitive natural habitat where he was bird watching. What came across to me in that video was him being grounded and calm while the woman was triggered and possibly acting on past trauma as she escalated the situation in her own mind to something dangerous. This, in no way, excuses her behavior, but she seemed disassociated from the present reality.
Each of us has the responsibility to do our work of healing to ensure that this doesn’t happen. We need to look at our hurts and traumas form the past so we can move through this world fully present to what is. We need to do the hard work of exploring our triggers, of speaking about and processing our pain, of re-wiring our responses so we can re-act to situations in a reasoned and logical way that is appropriate for the current time. When we fail to do our work, we over react, and we run the risk of layering the current situation with all the other situations we may have been in that this is reminding our body of. It’s not logical or fitting. And it can be dangerous, or even deadly.
For what healed and whole human being can kneel on another human being’s neck until they die, even as they plead for their life. What logical and present human being can hunt down and kill another human being for jogging in their neighborhood. What human being, who has done their healing work to be able to stay present when a perceived threat appears, would threaten another human being’s life by calling the police on them when asked to restrain their pet?
I know there is a lot of systemic change that needs to happen too, but each of us can do our small part by taking an honest and hard look at ourselves to search out those parts of us that are not healed, that over re-act, that are unable to stay present to the reality before us, those parts that are quick to judge another human being as less than based on the color of their skin, or to feel attacked when we are the ones causing a danger. Each of us is created in the image of God. When we do our work to remember this for ourselves, we can remember this truth for the rest of humanity too.
Will you commit with me to look at yourself? To seek those places where you can still be triggered? To do your work to make yourself whole so that you can see each other human being for the beautiful life they hold, no matter the color of their skin, no matter the accent they speak with, no matter their religion or education or gender? Will you do your work, so we can join together to do the collective work we all need to do?
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.