Please Listen and Understand

Hey there everyone! I’m pretty sure people were wondering what my thoughts were about what has been happening with George Floyd’s death and with the protests. What I’m posting here was something I meant to post before George Floyd’s death in response to the racial disparity with COVID-19. So I’ll be talking about both things here. There is a battle that needs to be fought and there is healing that needs to happen. This is long, but for those who know me and read my posts, I’m pretty sure you saw this coming! So, there’s a phrase that I’ve been thinking about lately in regards to race and it’s, “We just need to see each other as Christians and view others only through the lens of Christianity.” It would be nice if things were that simple. However, life does not always afford a simple way of doing things. Even for a Christian. In this immediate instance, a black Christian. 

That leads me to the discussion of why we are still struggling to this day. There are things with my race that have changed such as interracial marriage, voting, eating at certain venues, being allowed into certain universities, etc. Churches like the one I grew up in are more diverse than they were. I had the privilege with growing up with multiple cultures and socioeconomic statuses because of the Central. I will acknowledge that progress has been made. But make no mistake, just because things have gotten better doesn’t mean racial disparities have vanished and that racism doesn’t exist. The racism from the past and racism now have different faces but are still causing the same pain. Some examples of these disparities are poverty, healthcare, and  black men who make up 80% of those who are incarcerated (we make up 13% of the American population to put that in perspective). So now with COVID-19 and with George Floyd’s death more of these statistics are coming to light. 

These statistics played out for me during my travels for work. I have to be more cautious than a white traveler with what contracts I pick up and where I stay. I have patients on my travels concerned for me because they have neighbors who are racist. In certain areas where I did home health, nurses have to ask if it is okay for a black therapist to treat them before I come out there. And don’t think that this is just a Southern problem, I came across this in the Northwest as well. I don’t mention these things because of the fear that people wouldn’t believe me or being accused of throwing out the “race” card too much. Also, if you think this isn’t a thing for the generation after mine (Gen Z), there is a friend who has told me their stories of how they have struggled with racism as well.

So, back to my phrase about us viewing each other simply through the lens of Christianity. In light of what I have struggled with before COVID-19 and George Floyd’s death, I have been hurting for the disparities that I have seen. I have been crying due to COVID-19 and with the injustice of George Floyd’s death. Due to the hurt and pain I feel, it is a struggle to see everything through the lens of Christianity. A STRUGGLE. Can you really blame me for this being the case? Ephesians 4:3 calls me to make every effort to maintain peace and that is what I aim to do throughout my life. But again, this is a struggle.

Another thing I want to address are the people who are rioting. I along with many others don’t condone what they are doing and that it doesn’t help the current situation. However, understand the mindset behind the rioting. If what I posted about how intense my feelings are any indication, understand that they have feelings that are intense just like mine if not more so and some may not have what I have to turn to. Keep ALL who are hurting in prayer.

This is my last point, I know there are some of you brothers and sisters out there who don’t know how to respond to this with words of comfort. You don’t have to have the right words here. All I ask is that our pain be acknowledged and help support with the burden I and other brothers and sisters bear (Galatians 6:2). A listening ear is all I need. And, because we are family, when a struggle or burden occurs in your life, I promise to sit down and listen. Because that’s what family does. Churches like Central have done well in the area of diversity, however, I would challenge us to continue to strive for deeper unity as Christ would want us to. I’m grateful for those of you who took the time to listen to my struggles and hugged me through my tears it is appreciated. Love to my brothers and sisters near and far.