Thursday, February 15, 2024

Let Me Get Out Your Way

 When I was a little girl - I used to try to disappear, to be invisible, unseen, unnoticed,  unheard, un - un.

My naive little self thought that if they didn't see me, the monsters who lived and breathed fire, they wouldn't hurt me.

Most of my growing up, a full decade, I was afraid. 

Petrified, even.

Survival meant being nice, kind, quiet, compliant, nondescript, absent from any "prettiness" that they said was my late mother whose face I carried.

How could I be the incredible shrinking girl and stay in a corner until it was safe to use my voice, my words, to protect others so they would never feel that heart-thumping-heat-filling-terror.of.existing.

As we enter this season of Lent, the discussion very often among those who practice this season of contemplation, confession, and contrition is about what one is giving up - a pleasure or activity; we often don't discuss what we are taking on for righteousness and justice.

Let me consider this as I mentioned as the start of this muse, the ways that many try to erase themselves so they are not in the way of others deemed more important. This, to me, is antithetical to the very existence and call placed on us from the brown-skinned, son of a teenage mother, born of parents without a home and had to work with their hands, from a place that no one considered any good could come from. To me, we were called to shake things up, to not just go with the status quo, to wonder, and to question. And like him, to be daring and confident to ask the why questions in the process of figuring out how to meet the social needs of the people who eventually flocked to him.

We are in changing and often, troubling times.

Just yesterday, during a celebration of the Super Bowl champions, someone thought it was in their right to wreck havoc in that space. Gunshots rang out. My older sons and nephews were there. My middle son's military training kicked in and he got the family out safely.

What parts of humanity was missing in the soul of the shooter that took innocent lives and injured children?

How much are we unseeing people that they would take this extreme to try to be seen?

How much are we unhearing when people cry out?

How much are we unknowing what is glaringly obvious? 

People need to get in the way. 

Get in the way of economic injustice and oppression.

Get in the way of racial and ethnic injustice.

Get in the way of gender violence.

Take a risk and speak.

That is what I think we are called to in these times and something I have taken to doing more and more. I only have this dash and it is incumbent upon me to do all I can, all the while I can, in all the places I can, for all the people I can.

Sometimes that means speaking when I am petrified.

Sometimes that means writing when I know some will be offended.

Sometimes that means being present and a witness.

Whatever these forty days lead you into, let it lead you into more than just giving up a sweet treat or caffeine, let it lead you into considerations for humanity. We are all we we have  - together.