I walk through the streets of our community. I see the faces I love. Everyone is so tired. So anxious and beneath the smiles there is fear. Frustration. A sense of helplessness.
We just want to be. Free from the politics and rhetoric. Free from the judgment and hate. We want to be free. And we prepare for persecution.
We're tired of the divisions and of those who would divide us from one another. We're tired of the expectations that we should prove we're just like everyone else. We're not. And we don't want to be.
We have gifts of our own, innate beauty and dignity. We have truths to speak about our own lives, our own love...things to teach the world about the freedom and worth of every individual. About joy! And the world often beats it out of us. We prepare for violence.
We are tired of being divided by race and class and gender. As though we can't find common cause with ourselves let alone with the world we inhabit. We prepare for division. We should refuse to be divided.
We lament the violence and we fear it. Because when violence is acceptable against any one, when it is acceptable against us, then there isn't true safety to be found or anyone.
We are so tired of it all. And we look to celebrate and to forget and to rejoice and to be left alone all at once...so many emotions in the mix it seems easier to check out. But we don't. We persevere. And we brace for rejection.
And I know that we are not alone. That the whole country, perhaps even the whole world, is just tired of division and hate. Tired of hateful patrician politicians speaking for us and about us as though we're not in the room.
I, personally, gain strength from God as the One who can plant peace and hope in our hearts. I try to bear witness to this every day. The belovedness of every human soul. But how much work it takes to undo the voices that are so much more amplified and legitimized than my small voice. We prepare to be disminished.
No matter where you are, no matter what walk of life you inhabit...
No matter what privilege you are born with, or lack thereof...
No matter what oppression you experience or rights you enjoy without thinking...
Look in the eyes of your neighbor. See our pain. See our fear. See our uncertainty...
And reach out in love and compassion. Tell a stranger you love them. That it will be OK. That no matter what the world says, that we will work for peace together. That even if you don't understand them you will promise to work for their dignity and yours to be able to exist side by side. That you will not diminish them, not deny God's love for them. That even if you don't believe in God, you accept the premise of human dignity and love. And extend that promise to them.
Because I suspect, underneath all of the divisions and judgements and positions, that we are all just damned tired of being torn apart. And that we all really understand that this is not how it is meant to be.
Change your mind. Change your heart. Don't accept that this is how it is. God desires better. We deserve better.