The drama that has unfolded this past week in our country has left me overwhelmed and speechless (almost).
I did part of my growing up in south Texas, I know a tiny bit about prejudice. My dad was a pastor in a conservative southern church and when he invited an ex-con, black man to
live with us. Les and my father ushered our family into the middle of something that I had no language or orientation for understanding.
Les came and shared our home – he entered a white world. I was naive. I was taught to love people. I thought that was enough. There are so many lessons I learned from this season of my life, but this week I felt like I was thrown back in time. To see people shouting hatred at others in this way made me angry, at least I thought it was anger.
Anger is an emotion that reveals something we love is threatened and we are moved into motion. Hatred is something we harbor to not have to feel the discomfort of something we fear. (my definitions – from interior/exterior work that is still in process…)
As I looked at the online footage and watched the news I slowly and painfully realized that I was actually participating in perpetuating the growth of hatred.
While I hate the philosophy of the kkk, neo-nazi, supremacist groups, etc. AND I have no trouble saying that out loud (and believe anger at this is good) the troubling part to my soul is that I had to honestly name that in looking at these faces and their actions, I was hating the people…
I want to justify my hatred.
I want to qualify it as righteous.
But at the core when hatred is harbored it grows and it seeks a target. We cannot change what we ignore. We will not allow transformation of that which we deny exists.
Three timely messages have touched me recently and I am marinating myself in them because I want what is hidden to be transformed:
1) It is people on the margins that change the world. Thank you Dr. Dennis Edwards for standing in the ways of Jesus and inviting me to sit at this table.
2) Meeting our Enemies and our Suffering – Thank you Buddhism for the language of hate/anger being the gateway to love/compassion.
3) John Lennon wrote IMAGINE – Thank you Pentatonix for making this so visual for me to see, I keep hitting repeat.
I want my hatred to be transformed into compassion for all! What if one’s transformation actually does lead to another’s? (Read – Whole it is filled with thoughts on this.)
What if compassion rising is about us having a place to let our hatred be held/seen long enough to be able to breath a love that is breathtakingly risky?
Sometimes compassion scares me, but honestly it also gives me hope, especially when I see it offered to one’s self in the process of real pain. Yesterday I sat across from a couple in their 70’s, they are counting the days vs. decades of living they have left. Tragedy has interrupted their lives and because of this they are reassessing how they view relationship, family and the world. His brave statement inspired me, “I want to wake up now because it changes every step I take forward.”
He breathed love for a moment and had compassion on himself – now he can breath it out into the world.
I believe in this kind of transformation.
I believe that my hatred needs to be revealed.
I believe that naming my hatred is the gateway to deepening my compassion.
I believe love is real.
I know love is radical.
You may think I am a dreamer but I am not the only one…