Middle of the night. I can’t breathe. Not in the same way George Floyd couldn’t breathe. Mine is a can’t get a deep breath kind of not being able to breathe. It is an immense-grief-in-the-midst-of-a-horrifying-reality-while-not-knowing-what-to-do kind of not being able to breathe. And words aren’t enough, but I don’t know what else to do. I just know that even though I don’t have anywhere close to the right words, I can’t stay silent either! Silence is tacit consent.
So here I am fumbling around in the dark trying to say…WHY??? WHY do we hate? WHY do we hurt each other? WHY do people feel a sense of superiority over other people? WHY do people abuse and pervert power?
And I want to say I AM SORRY.
And even in saying those words I know they are meaningless without some kind of action. Some kind of change. But what? I am a white woman who loves Jesus and people. So I pray.
But faith needs to be activated toward something, otherwise there is no need for faith. So what do I set my faith toward? What is the faith assignment? Somebody help me here, because I don’t know. I don’t know the oppression of racial injustice. I don’t have a heritage of oppression.
What I do know is being a mama. And what I love more than anything is being a mama.
Perhaps the closest way I can actually identify is in the fear of waiting and wondering and hoping and praying your child is safe. I know the monster in your gut that won’t turn loose as you wait and hope and wonder and pray your child will just walk through the door. Safe. I know the fear that tortures you with thoughts that they may not. Night after night after week after month after year.
So finding out that in George Floyd’s last minutes, while being held down and completely powerless, he called out for his mama, brings all this already horrible injustice to a whole different level inside of me.
What it does to me internally makes me want to scream and break things and yell, “FOR GOD’S SAKE…WHY???? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?????” Do not misunderstand me. I am NOT condoning the violence. But I do understand the feeling.
In my limited, but nevertheless real experiences with abuse and powerlessness, I have learned that unless powerlessness is expressed in some form of power it remains within you. It becomes as internally destructive as we are seeing across our nation externally. God help us find a way to address this systemic powerlessness in a way that is more than loud. In a way that is constructive and makes a lasting change. A true change. May we somehow, someway, come together.
This is, admittedly, a feeble attempt to express the heaviness and grief and horror and sorrow in my heart. But I invite constructive conversations that could produce actions toward true justice and freedom, and I don’t presume to know what those might look like.
But this mama cares and I want to step across the uncomfortable dividing line and hear the things that will undoubtedly challenge me so that in this next generation…perhaps even in our own generation… we might see TRUE change.
I believe the persistent, consistent voice of a united people can do that. And just because we haven’t seen that yet doesn’t mean it isn’t possible.
Every single one of us was created in the image of God.
Every. Single. One.How do we find a way to address this systemic #powerlessness in a way that is more than loud? In a way that is constructive and makes a lasting #change? A true change? #racism Click To Tweet
Brenda Harkins mines the gold in people to help them clearly see their talent, identify their purpose and unleash potential to navigate their unique success. Brenda is a Life and Leadership Coach in her own organization, as well as with The John Maxwell Team and CoreClarity. She is a Public Speaker, Author, Mediator, Entrepreneur, and President of The Harkins Group, Inc. You can connect with Brenda at firstname.lastname@example.org or find out more at https://brendaharkins.com.