Since that conversation over a year ago a lot has happened in our nation. A lot has also happened in my head and heart. I don't laugh at that cousin's comment any more. Instead I now appreciate the fact that he had taken a look at himself and his views, compared them to accurate definitions of words, and realized that he was, in fact, a little racist.
It took a year, but he has humbled me, because the fact is I am also a little racist. That is a hard sentence to type and it's one I didn't want to ever believe was true, but it is.
With every sad shooting and death there is pressure on social media for Christians to speak out, for white people to speak out, for white Christian bloggers to speak out. I understand why. I also understand that when I don't say anything people assume. They assume I don't believe that black lives matter.
For the record - because I want my kids to know this when they look back at this moment in American history - I do, though. I do believe that black lives matter.
But I don't speak up, and the reason for this is because the Black Lives Matter movement has given me a spotlight to shine on my own heart. The heat is intense and I'm seeing ugly, broken bits of myself all over the place. In short, it is painful to both see what I am (a little racist) and to grow from that perspective.
I don't speak up because instead I am paying attention. I am reading comments and articles. I am listening to black people. Because I do not have any black friends, only acquaintances, I really appreciate the vulnerability I have found online and in the media.
I don't speak up because everyone has a different story and perspective and I want to be respectful of all the various histories and opinions. I want to consider them, reflect on them, and focus on them as they are shared.
I know there will be people who still believe that I should speak up, but right now God is working in my heart and I can clearly see that it needs to happen in a calm, quiet, private way.
This goes for more than just racism in America, too. If I remain quiet about the Orlando shooting or Syrian refugees please know that it's not because I don't care. I care a great deal. I am learning so much and the information both makes me cry and gives me hope. I want to cry because of the ways we ignore the value of human life and the ways that I have played my own part in it. But I have hope because if listening and praying and searching can lead to God growing my grinch-sized heart then I am certain we can fix this.
But please, don't think that just because I haven't updated my Facebook status that I don't care. I do, and because I do I am updating my life, my views, and how I teach my children.
May God have mercy on us all. +