friends, you know, i am an empath. and i am a Southern woman. these things combined with some other things lead to an extraordinary burden of grief and shame for me on many many days.
so, tonight i am telling myself that it is just okay to not know everything. and that i cannot hold the world's grief and injustices all on my own: Cherokee people enslaved blacks, and whites were (are) shitty to both of those cultures (and countless others) and that the only segment of society that it is still acceptable to persecute and make fun of is "poor white trash" or "rednecks". that mental illness is just as real a sickness as cancer, but that the recovery rate is much much smaller and the stigma is staggering. that straights are entitled...whether or not they choose to see it that way. that most of us don't know when our words wound others. that NONE of us are guiltless and that ALL OF US are broken and sinful and hateful and judgmental and self-righteous. and damn it, Jesus assures us that God loves us anyway.
and i am telling you, my diverse friends, you who in one day alone on the internet railed against the injustice of the government reaction to the Dakota Sioux Uprising in 1862, railed against and applauded the tasteless "comedic" skit from the CMA's, who called the Affordable Healthcare Act "gay" (the irony that you who would refuse socialist healthcare to the poor and yet are a recipient of it yourself through your husband's military service was not lost on me...and, i hope, not lost on you either), and who urged the world on toward equality for the LGBTQI community, you are a wildly diverse group. and the ONE thing upon which i pride myself is my ability to choose friends wisely. SO, you are, in your eccentricities, your ignorance, your pride, your judgement, your hatred, your fear, you are wonderful, gifted people...and i know that all of us struggle with trying to be "good" and open and honest and loving and following the Creator...and whether we are Muslim or Protestant or Catholic or agnostic or atheist or Wicca or Jewish or Buddhist (am i leaving anyone out? i hope not), we are not done. we each of us have so very, very much to learn. and it is okay that we don't know everything just yet. what is important is that we are still willing to engage in respectful conversation with one another.
i am begging you (all of you) to let go of the assumption that you are right. for i assure you that you do not have all the pieces of the puzzle. no one does. we were wonderfully made to live in community with one another, and we each have SO MUCH TO LEARN from the perspectives and stories of one another.
and when all of this is simply too much to wrap our puny little human brains around, we need to remember the prophet Micah 6:8 "He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?" (whoa, atheists...there is some value you hold above all others...and for the purposes of this conversation, let this be your "god") and maybe we are too human, too weak, too ignorant, too hot-tempered to do this in a broad sense. but perhaps we can be more intentional about doing it in the singular moment. in the conversations that crop up in front of us. in the opportunities we have to say, "that's not okay, but you are"
and when we screw even that up (and i know we will) we need to remember that we are people. that people make mistakes. that forgiveness is bigger than we are. that we are forgiven. and that tomorrow we can try again. amen.