This is my second rewrite of this post, and I was beginning to think that maybe I wasn’t supposed to write it. But then I thought, maybe I was supposed to write it, but better.
While watching an extremely heart wrenching movie in which a family lost the 15-year-old son/brother in a tragic car accident, and crying my eyes out, I thought to myself, ‘I can’t imagine….’. I can’t imagine losing any of my children to…anything. But then, a moment later, I could imagine, and I have found myself imagining over the years. And the very thought of the loss of any one of my children, grips my heart as if it’s real. And I immediately begin to thank God for that terrible imagining not being a reality. But in the Trayvon Martin case, his mother isn’t just shaking herself awake from a bad dream. Her nightmare won’t go away when she opens her eyes…because it’s real…her son did fall victim to a terrible crime, and in one moment all of her nightmares came true.
The morning after I heard about the Trayvon Martin shooting, I felt the need to have a VERY in-depth conversation about this event with my kids…particularly with my sons. At the time I was not aware of how much press this story was getting and how many were really aware of what happened. I had received an email the night before from one of the Christian ministries that I subscribe to, and it told the story, shared a letter from his mother, and was circulating a petition calling for the investigation and arrest of the gentleman who got out of his car and shot an unarmed young man because he looked suspicious!!!! I have a friend named Stacey, and I shared with her via Facebook that this tragedy made me pull my boys closer…. And it made me have a talk with them about this hate-filled world we live in that I really didn’t want to have. To me, my children are exceptional. They are believers…they are intelligent….they are funny…but there are some who will never get to know that because they choose not to see past the fact that they are black. Yes, in 2012, it breaks my heart that we are still having these conversations with our children 😦
My children have grown up in the inner-city for most of their lives. When they attended public school, they attended a culturally diverse school, and in our choice of churches we have deliberately chosen culturally diverse places of worship. You see, we truly believe that God created all of us, and when he colored our skin, he did it on purpose. He is the creator of all cultures. I deliberately don’t use ‘races’ because there is only one race, but within that one race there are many cultures. And that’s what we teach our children. That God made us the same. But things like this make me wonder if they’ve been handicapped. So we had a conversation. And I looked at my beautiful children and shared my heart with them…as their mother…as a believer in Jesus Christ…as an African-American mother of African-American children,,,and my heart broke. Isaiah is my oldest son. He has the most amazing smile and wacky sense of humor. He has never sagged his pants purposely, but he recently lost quite a bt of weight and now nothing fits. He has fallen in love with math in the last year and if I let him, he would work on that all day every day. He is loyal…a little rough around the edges, but he has a promising future filled with integrity, and I pray wise decisions. Jordan is my youngest son. He was born just two months after the death of my father, and he brought joy back to my heart. Like his brother, he has an amazing smile (even with braces), and when he turns to the side, he’s so thin that he almost disappears! He has the craziest laugh…and it’s contagious! He’s my overachiever, if over achieving is really possible. He gets up before his siblings to read his Bible before we wake up, and by the time his siblings join him, he’s got a 1-2 hour head start on the day. To lose one of them in any way would be devastating, but in a preventable act…there are no words.
For our morning Bible Study, we are currently studying genealogy, and have been reminded that all people groups descended from Noah and his sons. http://www.israel-a-history-of.com/sons-of-noah.html I have read the Bible for most of my life, and after getting stuck in Genesis 10, I am pretty sure that most of us have never looked closely at genealogy in order to understand our relationship to one another. I can’t help but think how different things would be if we had…if we did.
While the Trayvon case has a monopoly on the news, there was another story of a 40+ year-old African-American man who was beaten and run over with a truck for ‘fun’ by a few white teenagers two years ago. The primary perpetrator was given 2 life sentences. I found myself thinking, ‘what evil drives the heart of one who hates?’ Racism is not a political issue. It’s not a media issue. It is an issue of the heart. And we can’t legislate it, we can’t march or protest against it. But we can pray…and we can search our own hearts to ensure that it does not live in us. I see the nationwide protests on the news and in the papers. We demand justice! But can we forgive? We want the government to get involved! But are there things we can do to prevent these acts? I don’t mean intervene; I mean stop it before it starts. Conservative right or liberal left….racism, again, is a matter of the heart, not the skin…for this reason we must ensure that our allegiance remains fixed on the ONE who purchased our freedom from sin and it’s slavery. The ONE who has the power to love all of the hate out of us. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ Blood and Righteousness. Each of us can make a difference, by not teaching hatred or bitterness by word or deed to the next generation. Educate them on our history…on ALL history…history where we as a people were oppressed and brutalized, as well as history where we were the oppressors and the brutes…history where we worshipped God and Him alone, and history where we led generations into idolatry and pagan worship practices. My heart grieves for this young man and his family. I grieve for every victim of racism; white towards black. black towards black, black towards white, and the list goes on. Every people group has suffered at the hands of this evil. While I do not want my kids to expect it, I want them to be aware that evil exists…in all colors…and again, my heart breaks…for the hearts that hate because they don’t know Love… for the young and old who haven’t been taught the ways of the Lord….my sons wear hoodies…especially when it rains. I can’t help but wonder, what will you think when you see them?
Heartbroken…and searching my heart in order to give all over to the Lord,