It is the beginning of November and I find that I am pulled in a million directions. There are fundraisers for school, homework, play dates, dance lessons, doctor’s appointments, small groups, and on and on and on.
And in the midst of all of that busyness, I tend to get very introspective. I tend to find that my mind demands to be recognized, whether I deem there to be time for it or not!
And in that vein, I have been thinking a lot about a certain path that I was put on in the early 1990’s. A path that lead to the inception of a lifelong journey that seems to continue to have endless spokes originating from one simple, yet profound word:
For me, especially in the 90’s, this word was most often, but certainly not limited to, racial reconciliation. I found myself immersed in groups like Multicultural Student Fellowship, International Student Fellowship, SOAR (Students Organized Against Racism) and I even received a Masters degree in Multicultural Education and Social Justice. It was, and has continued to be, a huge learning curve for me.
And now, here I am. I am the wife of a Czech man and the mother of an Ethiopian daughter. My family could not be more multicultural, unless, I was Angelina Jolie.
And in lieu of all that I learned and continue to learn, I am noticing a pattern that is a bit disconcerting to me. And our dependence on social media does not help matters one bit.
First, let me share a story with you. One that is really not easy for me to share, as I am embarrassed about it – to this day.
When I was in graduate school, I had the privilege of meeting and spending a lot of time with a group of amazing individuals from
One night, we decided to all pile in my car and go to a movie. As we were driving to the movie theater, we were cut off by a car that had a huge sticker on the back of another country’s flag. Before I knew it, this is what came out of my mouth:
Yep, I said that. Me. The woman who at the time was co-leading the SOAR group. Me. The woman who had already devoted a decade toward the pursuit of racial reconciliation. Me. The woman getting her MASTERS DEGREE in Multicultural Education and Social Justice. Me.
Well, the silence in the car was palpable.
And then something ethereal happened.
Laughter. And grace.
My beloved Kenyans did NOT let me get away with that comment. Many conversations ensued in the weeks ahead. A lot of forgiveness was asked and even more was given. And most importantly, not one of those dear friends gave up on me, turned their back on me, wrote me off, judged me, and they did not gang up on me and tear me apart. They knew that I am not perfect. They know my life story, where I come from, what my life’s experiences have done to help my paradigm shift in a positive manner and what it has done to hinder it.
And most importantly, they knew and know today that even in my longing, my desire, to be a Woman of Faith who feels called to racial reconciliation, to social justice, to advocacy, to deep and authentic friendships among different races, I am human.
And I will blow it.
As a result of all of this, I get a bit concerned. As a Caucasian mom of an Ethiopian daughter in a predominately Caucasian small town, I get looks. I get comments. I get stares, some quizzical, some disdainful. It can be hurtful.
Everything in me wants to pick up my cell phone, jump on Facebook, twitter to the world about how wronged I was. I want to call out the “racist” individual who wronged me and my child! I want to incite a mob response, getting everyone I know to respond and comment as well about how awful my experience was, how ignorant people are, how enlightened I AM in comparison.
And then I believe God brings me humbly back to that event in the car. With the Kenyans. On the way to the movie.
And I find that, while I am a huge fan of being truthful and letting an individual know that their comment was hurtful and that he or she might want to take a moment and consider why he or she said what he or she said, I am finding that
Grace and Truth make for great sisters to Reconcilation.
We all are human, therefore we ALL have prejudices.
Can you imagine what would happen if we offered people grace more often?
This idyllic and very human woman who has been the recipient of such grace is hopeful at that thought.