The summer of 2014 and into early 2015 have brought national and international deaths by violence. Every day some part of the world is wracked by violence over which most of us have little control. In that context I offer this reflection:
Uncertain, unclear, unsure–
The latest news about (fill in the blank) breaks my heart. I am a woman of privilege who was born into a middle class white family in a white neighborhood. Life has not been completely rosy. Childhood abuse, the deaths of loved ones, divorce, and depression were usually followed by therapy or medication–another sign of privilege for sure, since I had to belong a system that made remedies available, affordable, and acceptable to my cultural group. For less serious anxieties I learned meditation. Benefits arose from paying attention to my breath and to the present moment. I could regain equilibrium and go on about my business.
But watch the news; see how fast social media churn up nastiness and ignorance; witness insults and put-downs pawned off as humor. No amount of meditation makes it go away. War, jihad, racism, bullying, systems of oppression all seem impossible to address. What can I do anyway?
Then I remember the children and adults who have no choice but to do something for survival. They have no choice but to live inside a system that’s designed to keep them silent and out of sight.
- Teachers and students kidnapped or killed because they value education.
- Families in underground bunkers because of bombs that level neighborhoods.
- Domestic partners and children abused by those who claim to love them.
- Minorities threatened and killed because of skin color, religion, or national origin.
- Refugees who cross borders to escape war or financial ruin.
- (Fill in the blank.)
History repeats itself and all we can do is wring our hands? NO! That’s not good enough!
If I am remotely worthy of the privilege gained by my white skin and U.S. citizenship, I can stand up; speak out; swap safety for courage. It’s time to step forward in solidarity with those who have no choice.