I finally found my words.
The ones I felt I could share in this space vulnerably and be open to opposition.
After all of that has happened in our country since the shootings in Columbine back in 1999, I’ve not ever felt strongly voicing my heart about any of it. I’ve often felt conflicted – that I should share because I’m a black woman and people need to hear about the injustices and racism I’ve experienced at the hands of fearful people who didn’t know how to respond to me or that I should not share because I can’t speak for all black women and their experiences, because – duh – they’re not all the same or that I should not share because I’m not black enough or; there isn’t enough space here for all of the shoulds, truly…
So much pressure to say the right things and tell others how they should change and be different as if I know.
I in my own strength as Regina, have no idea what I could say to an entire group of people with different skin color to make racism and terrorism and hatred stop; as if their skin makes all of their voting preferences, sexual orientation/preferences, financial situation, education, stance on the 2nd amendment or neighborhood the same.
It’s not right.
No, it’s not right what happened to those little ones shot in Sandy Brook. Or the servicemen who were working – unarmed – at military recruiting centers. Or the people present at the Pulse the night they were shot. Or those in Paris earlier this year. Or around the world where many mamas are trying to feed and raise their children just like so many of us here while living in a war torn country.
It is not right that “driving while black” has gone from being a mention or laugh in some comedians’ stand up routine to what’s on its way to become the norm in our country. Or that the people who go to work at their already dangerous jobs are not going home to their loved ones because someone decided that shooting them was the only way to work through this pain our country (our world) is enduring.
To me, it’s like how I imagine an extended time in the desert might be.
All of these thoughts, the wandering from what the news tells us to what people portray on social media in their hurt, fear or knowledge; it’s just like standing in the middle of the desert and not knowing which direction to walk in because none of the ways are truly helpful or beneficial in healing our hurts and resolving the conflicts, helping get us closer to where we really want to be going.
I don’t believe it’s about more, tighter laws. It’s in our nature to buck the system and break the laws in the name of what we think is best. Isn’t that basically how we became a country?
I don’t believe it’s about people from one race writing to people of another race and telling them which hashtag or movement they should be using and how they should be acting. That’s too global, too one-size-fits all, which goes against so much of what we want here in America.
I don’t believe it’s about white people feeling more guilty or ashamed of their privilege and blacks rising up and “taking a stand” against the injustices – there are so many other people in our country who need to be a part of us all becoming an “us” that as long as we continue to have an “us vs. them” fight, we’ll be right where we are, or worse.
I don’t believe that silence is consent. The media and people jumping on these stories and sharing what they think and feel before they’ve taken the time to think and pray about what prejudices and expectations and stereotypes are buried in their own hearts keep the pot stirring and the separation growing. I read through a lot of the things I saw online. I did not watch the recordings of the shootings. I did not linger on the murdered men on the ground or in their cars. I did not comment on people’s social media posts in agreement or disagreement. And it was such a time of refining for me. It was a desert moment for me. A moment where I gained deep conviction about wanting to be a part of helping but taking time reflect and pray before I just exerted energy moving full steam ahead in the direction I “felt” I should be going in.
Where do I turn? What do I say? Does it even matter? I am so sad. I am incredibly angry. Here I am again needing to fight fear with faith – how Lord? How do I talk about this in a beneficial way? How do I get in my car without these deaths rising to my heart? How can I continue to move forward lighthearted and hopeful knowing that things are likely going to get worse? Why did you make us so many different shades and why do we hate ourselves and one another so much? Is this going to happen to me?
These questions and so many others all brought me back to God. Every single one.
Which is why you won’t see me as a member of the Black Lives Matter movement and why I also won’t be explaining why the hashtag #alllivesmatter is offensive. You won’t see me trying to battle the abuse and terror that we put one another through (in marriages, the workplace, because of skin color, sex, religion, sexual abuse, theft, burglary, adultery, gossip, comparison, gender inequality, political “discourse” and everyday living) from behind my computer or in a peaceful protest, because I believe it takes more person-to-person, heart-to-heart work.
And it needs to be about and include God.
He did not come to seek and save the blacks.
The Bible does not say that Jesus was sent and died so that there would be a superior race.
God sent Jesus for US. The lost. Those separated from Him.
And even though we’ve kicked Him out of our schools and out of our country, we still have the nerve to mock Him when we’re the ones who’ve turned our hearts away from Him in all that is happening.
It is on us to remain calm; those of us who are making efforts to walk in faith. To take the time to find the words that help people find their comfort in Him, not in which movement is more right or which injustices against which people need to be righted – on our time tables. It is on me as a Christian to share that it is truly about living out God’s Great Commission and sharing how I am able to be sustained in peace right now through all of these things. With dark skin. And as the mom of a son with dark skin. My life matters to Him. My son’s life matters to Him. But no more or less than yours or your neighbor’s. We need to love one another along into God’s Kingdom of believers where there is not perfection but where there is hope.
Never does the Bible promise that following Jesus would come with ease. Or without prejudice. Or injustice. Look at how He died for US. Not easy. Laced with prejudice. Completely unjust.
Yet, there are so many Christians who have allowed their identity to be in their skin color and the plight or privilege that comes with it rather than in the blood that has already marked us for Him and His glory. We have got to turn our focus back to the identity that we’ve accepted, putting the one(s) – the boxes, labels – that society and culture has told us we need to wear (and then condemned or pitted us against one another for wearing them) in their proper place at His feet.
How do we move forward in the right direction in the desert?
One step at a time. Toward God. Reading and embracing and believing His Truth; especially during these scary times. One step at a time. Toward God. Praying and being completely honest with about our rage and hurt and fear, trusting Him to heal us and bring us the comfort that only He can. One step at a time. Seeking Him for truly everlasting peace, justice and love. When we earnestly seek God and listen for what He would have us do everyday in our going about and living our lives, doing it in love, we will be a light in all of this madness and be a part of His perfect plan to redeem the lost and heal His people. All of His people.
It can’t come from us. The news and our social media feeds are showing what comes from us. We need Him and as Christians, we need to live for Him because to God, #lostlivesmatter.