There are moments in life where time appears to yield itself to wisdom. Those fleeting minutes soothe the soul with an existential balm of joy –this uncanny ability to see God in the midst of chaos. This fleeting space where love lives in this continual loop of transformation never appearing to impact those in power. There powerless repackage love as a trope for suffering while racism masquerades as faith.
This is day two of trying to find the words to write again. I am not sure what happen but something made me stop. The past couple of days, I have been wrestling with one reason: fear. I have done all of the work to get to this moment of starting a PhD. program and now they will find out that I don’t belong. Never has that been something I have struggled with or hindered by until it dawned upon me a couple days ago. Now, I feel like I am learning to write all over again.
It is hard to be creative in a space where fear is paramount.
It has been months since I have made an attempt to write anything. I have wrestled with myself: a lack of things to say or simply fear of critique. It appeared for the first time that I had developed an awareness of the critique. What I had labeled a lack of interesting events was really my unwillingness to be vulnerable. Writing places one’s perspective in a space of judgement where all stand as judge and jury. It is a place where the untamed life restructures itself into a sanctuary of peace –chaos becomes fortified spaces of comfort. I had become too consumed by the hustle of “trying to show I belonged.”
The question that still remains concerning race in America is the question of unity. What does it mean to live in unity with those who are not like us? What does it mean for the majority to recognize and accept the issues that are important to the minority? How can the minority who has been oppressed and still feels the remnant of that suffering move past the hurt to embrace unity with the majority? There are no easy answers to these questions but that does not mean we cannot attempt to have conversations that move us toward resolution. The prevailing sentiment is that we are too far gone; that people have dug their heels in and there is no room for negotiation or discussion. The prevailing sentiment is that any compromise will be seen as defeat; any concession of any point concerning what we believe about race/racism will be viewed as losing our principles. None of which is helpful. We have to be able to have discussions. We have to be able to honestly question each other and allow ourselves to be questioned. We have to be able to hear one another with the understanding that no one has all truth and no one is all wrong.
My hope that this is possible comes from my belief in Jesus Christ as the savior of the world. This week’s lection from John 17:1-11, reminds us that Jesus was given authority over all flesh to over eternal life (v. 2). The tricky part is found in the very next verse: “And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” The unity we seek is in knowing God the Father and Jesus Christ. But what does it mean to know God? People have used their “knowledge” of God to justify many abhorrent behaviors and beliefs. Racism has been justified using scripture. Division has increased as people lay claim to God’s word as their own, refusing to believe that anyone else has knowledge of who God is. Yet, Jesus prays for all who are his followers. He prays that we might be one as he and the Father are one. This does not mean sameness but does mean an intimately close relationship that allows for difference without separation. We have to be willing to come back to the table and discuss our difference knowing that we are united in Christ. We have to swallow our pride and let go of our self-glorification born out of this belief that we fully know God. We have to admit our limited knowledge of God and embrace the knowledge that others have been given by Jesus Christ.
Until we face the problem with honest reflection, we will continue to live in the division and conflict we see in the world today. Until we let go of our need to be glorified, to have the light shine on our thoughts and beliefs, we will continue to fail to glorify God with the unity God intended. I’m ready, let’s talk.
The pressure to write words that preferably I would rather just speak, haunt my soul.
The ever- pressing need to release some level of truth becomes the cathartic peace for the moment.
What I know is that life has places that instruct but it also has places that reshape love –a love that calls for resembling default of authenticity.
Where do I find peace?
I find it: trapped in the brown and black skin of my people.
I find it: laced in the syllables of the words of the elders.
I find it: in the genius of the welcoming known as a pound.
I find it: in the soft kiss of my dark queen.
I find it: through the love of a young daughter’s call of Daddy
I find it: seeking wisdom from brothers who have walked the path of manhood
I find it: in the beat of the drum- Dilla, Premiere, and Coltrane
Where do I find peace?
Honestly, most of the time, peace finds me…God.