May 30, 2020 The Year of Perfect Vision
The older I get, the less I know. And that works for me. Because that gives God something to work with. Teachable gray matter.
And I get some of my greatest lessons from young people. You know, the ones who get a bad rap. The millennials. I try to be mindful of the lesson teachers. Meaning, I never know who my messenger from God is. It might be the person with the foil lining in their stocking cap. God uses everyone.
And last night, God used a 22 year old. Who was born at 40 on the wisdom scale, which makes her 62. While science says her brain won’t be fully cooked for three more years, her soul is intact since before her physical day one.
We talked about George Floyd. And the police. And the world. And our society. And I got schooled. Because I sit in my little box, judging from my one tiny perspective the big blue marble that we all live on. And that is one limited, finite view. If I thought there was a right and wrong to how to look at things, I would miss so much. And I have done that. Set in my ways at more than twice her age, I think I have wisdom. And while that may be true, I don’t corner the market on that.
The conversation started with enthusiasm. Excitement. Sharing of beliefs and ideas. Probing questions and answers exchanged between us. It was exhilarating for me. But the more we discussed what is happening in the world from two views, the more frustrated we each became from our seats. And what began as an energized exchange, was quickly drained of all power by the facts of the contents.
I make it a habit not to watch the news. My reason has been that the things that I see, like Charlottesville or the politics of our day leave me quite literally sick. So up until March, when there began a pandemic, I stayed happily ignorant. Justifying this by saying, “I just need to take cover when they sound the tornado sirens. I’m good.” And left it at that. But I’m not good. And I can’t leave it at anything. Anymore. Because me sitting here ignorant of the world around me is irresponsible.
While I spent my evening after our conversation writing, I found myself happening on a Facebook LIVE video. At first, I scoffed. “Just another talking head. Bleeding out loud about the world events.” Also, she was a person of color. And while I like to think I am not prejudiced, I was raised by a racist from the depression era and while I am not proud to admit it, I have not completed the unlearning process of that white bread childhood.
Shame on me. I hadn’t even heard a word. I made that judgment just by looking at the face of the young woman who had over 200,000 views on this video and honestly, that was the reason I stayed. And listened. I thought if that many people were listening and watching what she had to say, it might be good to see what that draw was. I shared her video on Facebook because what she said disturbed me. Her caption read, “I’m scared. And you should be too.”
What I heard was a well articulated fear for the safety of her children and her own safety and the humiliation she had suffered while trying to take care of and make feel safe those who were sworn to keep her safe. She said it better. And she said something about Atlanta that told me she lived there.
What I did not realize, because remember, I don’t watch the news because it makes me sick, was that there were riots going on in her back yard and that she was literally fearing for her life and the lives of her children.
So I got over my bullshit and I watched the news. And while I can sit back at a distance from my little box and see the whole world stage from the safety of my white bread living room, not everyone has that privilege. And more to the point, I cannot sit here worried what people will think of me if I express my true feelings about what I see in the world today and claim to be a person who gives their life daily to the service of my fellow human.
So here is what I see. A planet. With lots of water and land. And people. And on my neck of the woods, there is an echelon. Of people. With the ones at the top, looking down on the rest. Like the suites at a sporting venue or the racetrack. Protected, well fed, with fancy suites. While most of the rest of the people are in the cheap seats.
And these are the people who do the work so that the ones in the suites can have the money from the work of the backs of the people who do the work to afford the suites.
And the people in the suites like it when the people in the cheap seats fight. And suffer. Because then maybe none of them will look up to notice that the ones in the suites are having a party. And I would say the party was on the people who work’s dime. But it’s much more than that.
In our conversation, I was schooled to the fact that there are school teachers who do their noble work, only to have to go to work at Home Depot at night, missing their family to do so, in order to just survive. Just as I write this, I am getting the same frustration as I had when we talked last night. I need to keep my head out of the sand. And stay informed. And above all, I will ask God, what can I do to affect change? Truly. Because I have taken for granted the freedoms I have had. The ones my father fought for in World War II. The one I have that when I drive my car if I get pulled over, I can be free to get my wallet out of my purse without fearing that the officer might think that because of the color of my skin, I might be drawing a weapon and shoot me. The freedom to live in a country where those who were slaves and built so much of this country are still slaves. To fear. And that is wrong.
I listened to the other view last night. Two actually. The one in person from a person who I treasure. And am so grateful I stayed open. Before we talked, I was judging the riots I had heard about in Minnesota. “That’s not going to help. People are going to get hurt.” Really Lucinda? People are getting more than hurt. People are getting murdered. Wake the fuck up. What I heard from both of the young women was that maybe this is not a riot but a revolution. Perhaps it is necessary for the greater good.
I don’t know. And that works for me. Because there is a lesson going on here. And it is my duty as a human being to show up for class.