Outside, my children play in the fading light. In our corner of the world, I've never really had to worry or think about a threat to their lives because of their skin color. They only know this cocoon of love, warmth and safety, that I so badly want to preserve for them. I want the world to treat them kindly, to love them gently and for them to love this beautiful world back. As Maggie Smith says in her poem "Good Bones", "I am trying to sell them the world." But because this luxury they are experiencing is not afforded to all, they need to know the truth. This world is full of broken people and is sad and terrible. Evil lurks in the shadows and waits to pounce on the marginalized, the poor, and also on the least suspecting. And yet, it is also so beautiful that God sent His one and only son Jesus to step down into all of the brokenness and hate and show us His marvelous light. His kingdom is coming on the horizon, but while we wait in expectancy, we are not blind or indifferent to the cries of those hurting around us.
Yesterday, I told my kids some ugly truth about the turmoil that has unfolded over the last few weeks, beginning with the tragic murder of Ahmaud Arbery and now George Floyd. We talked about racism, justice and how to love this world and all of the people in it.
Today, I activity listen
I actively listen by closing my mouth and receiving the words of my brothers and sisters who are grieving right now.
I actively listen by reading the books they ask me to read.
I actively listen by reading aloud books and stories to my children, and having the conversation of racism in our home, and then listen to their thoughts as we walk to the store, over bowls of cereal in the morning, or in the last moments of the day before they drift off to sleep.
I actively listen by being willing to ask God why I am living in such a time, and waiting to hear His voice in how to conduct myself.
Right now there is such a clamor of noise and opinions. But right now is the time to be silent and make space for the voice of the grieving. Right now, I'm listening. Right now, I'm pulling my kids in close and telling them the hard and ugly truth. Right now, I'm praying.
When You Meet Someone Deep in Grief
By Patricia McKernon Runkle
Slip off your needs
and set them by the door.
this dark chapel
hollowed by loss
hallowed by sorrow
its gray stone walls
are here to listen
not to sing.
Kneel in the back pew.
Make no sound,
let the candles