We talk about everything around here and I mean everything.
I take having an open discussion policy pretty seriously in our home and for us, it just works.
My boys know that if they have questions, they can ask them without feeling threatened or nervous. It is so important to me for them to truly learn how to ask for what they want and to ask questions when they have them. I believe that there is a difference between being told what to do and obeying out of fear and doing what is right because you understand why it is right, if that makes any sense.
I simply like them to know the ‘why’ behind the reasons that they make decisions. .
Of course I have answered questions about the terrible things that are featured every evening on ABC’s, World News with David Muir.
And I have briefly explained and have also lectured and talked extensively about hate, and how it ruins everything it touches and how nothing good (and certainly nothing that will bring glory to God) comes from forcing your views on other people’s lives and killing them, or hating them, or picketing them to death if they don’t comply or change to suit your comfort level.
And mother f*ck (hits hands on table) it has only been a few days since I sat my boys down at our kitchen table and explained in a lengthy, very generic, non-specific & age appropriate way what they should do and how they should handle themselves should they ever happen to walk past a human being laying on the ground in a semi-conscious or unconscious state. (It was sort of just a review, but basically, I wanted to hear their thoughts on what the morally sound decision would be.)
And thank gosh they had thoughtful, brilliant, empathetic, sweet, smart, caring, mature, and ethical responses.
And this morning, I found myself again, trying to explain away hate.
Very real, very close-to- home, hatred.
And in case you didn’t already know, you can’t actually do that.
As I tried to speak to these tiny souls that I have the privilege of caring for my throat started to burn and tears welled up in my eyes.
I did my best to take deep breaths as mind scrambled for the easiest words that could help my kids make some sense of this recent tragedy…but it just wasn’t happening.
It is never easy to explain things that you don’t understand or cannot comprehend, and it is not easy to make a child feel that they are safe when you are faking it, because frankly, you don’t feel safe either.
So I just told the truth.
I told my kids that I don’t have any answers would make it make sense because it was a senseless act, and that I have nothing new to say aside from that I am just so so so sorry.
I made sure to tell them that hate has been and always will be a powerful and destructive entity, and it hurts people and that it is responsible for the death and destruction of so many people.
It also breeds like mold.
All day today I couldn’t shake feeling internally conflicted and angry.
I fumed as I scrolled past hateful, righteous, entitled tweets, posts, and comments that even dared mention gun rights, gun laws, or people who happen to be gay’s personal human rights to socialize in public.
I felt angry that I actually have ‘friends’ who I truly don’t know at all. I felt frustrated that I never recognized these qualities before today.
I felt angry that I didn’t have answers for my children and that I didn’t actually feel like I was making them any safer or more secure.
I was furious that I felt helpless and angry that I couldn’t actually ‘do’ anything or make anything better in any way.
I felt angry and like everything that I did or wanted to do or wanted to say all day long was a waste of time in light of what was happening; all of the tears, the pain and anguish, the people searching and waiting for answers, and those who are mourning.
I have been feeling angry that I don’t feel more guilty for being a free, educated, white woman in a country that has offered me every opportunity imaginable. Guilty because I don’t have any real or immediate threat to my life or my well-being. Guilt because I don’t fear for my life every single day because of who I am, for who I love, or for believing in God and sharing my passion for Jesus with others.
I wondered why I didn’t care that the shooter was Muslim, documented, undocumented or wearing a giant bunny costume. I just didn’t care.
And then I felt angry at myself for feeling like praying wasn’t ‘enough’ when I actually believe that it is one of the most powerful tools available.
And tonight, I have been sitting here looking at this cursor blinking for at least an hour.
I have been contemplating what I really am doing here and if I am really making any difference whatsoever, anywhere. And even if I am, I can do the math.
My little amount of ‘good’ isn’t making a big enough dent.
And as I sat, I began to realize that it was exactly what hate wants:
Silent people unwilling to do or to feel or to believe in anything.
-It wants us to stop teaching our kids about love and peace.
-It purposefully mistreats, abuses, and marginalizes.
-It’s goal is to drag us down and take our light with it.
-It wants us to judge and label and tear down and avoid.
-It wants us to stop encouraging each other and mentoring and loving other people.
-It wants us to stop believing in hope and change and unity and equality.
-It divides, it draws lines in the sand and in lines, and on buses and in restaurants.
-It gasses people and burns them alive and skins them and beheads them.
-It blames and accuses and gossips and argues and trolls.
-It invades locker rooms, and bathrooms.
-It provokes us and moves us to boycott companies.
-It tells us we’re standing for what we believe in and that right is more important than kind.
-It convinces us that accepting is synonymous with approving.
-It ensures us that our way is the only way.
-It injects itself into even the most well-meaning hosts, and manifests into something that grows out of control and then, it moves on.
Hearts are then left completely void of the ability to feel and no one seems to feel the impact that hate has anymore and in the end we will have justified hate by using religion as a scapegoat to under gird naivety, fear, ignorance, and the unknown.
The only choice that we really have is to choose to believe that each one of us really can make a difference. We have to keep believing. Alone we might be going against an impossible tide but together we can move mountains.
And for myself personally, I have to seek God for the peace and security that my bones were aching for throughout the day today. I have to pray for patience to deal with the inconsiderate, apathetic people who actually buy the crap that hate is selling and I have to cling to my God who tells me in John 1:5: The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Let this terrible hate crime not split us apart and push us backward even more than before.
Let it piss us off and give us incentive to rise up together and to stay strong in our beliefs and in our knowledge that hope is real.