Posted in Activism, challenge, commentary, community

Blackkklansman

I’ve watched Blackkklansman several times now. Parts of it make me sick, particularly the parts where “Christians” believe white is right and the only color. Harry Belafonte’s part where he recounts several atrocities is particularly strong. One hopes we’ve made progress. Right?

Then a church going white man drives into a crowd to kill people for their assumed religion based on how they look. In Sunnyvale, California. In 2019.

We can do better, America. We need to stand up for each other. Own the past. Change the future.

I still have hope change can happen. May I do my part.

Posted in Activism, commentary, community, holidays, Human Rights, Humanity, politics

MLK Day

Until 1988, I didn’t know much about Martin Luther King, Jr. Nothing was taught about him in history class (of course, no history class I was in got much further than WW2), and so it passed under my radar.

In college, I had a friend named Dee Dee who suggested, since we were near Atlanta on Spring Break, that we go see the MLK Center opened by Dr. King’s widow.

We went on our journey that day and I didn’t know what to expect from our visit, but I left the MLK Center very reflective and sad that someone who fought so hard for equality was persecuted for it. He was not perfect, but he was important. For all of us.

My life is richer because of the diversity in it. May we all work together so we are all on equal footing to reach our dreams.

Happy birthday to the King of all Dreamers.

Posted in Activism, advocate, commentary, community, Equality, fearless, feminism, Uncategorized, World

NEVERTHELESS, I PERSIST

Yesterday was another day of political upheaval here in the United States. I am 48 years young but I’ve never seen (or was too young to really remember) anything like the baffling regression of the American spirit like I’ve witnessed over the past 18 months or so.

I will say this and leave it right here: I believe in equality for everyone. Everyone. Progress has been made the past decade to close many gaps for many different people groups and I refuse to let any group in this country try to drag us back to the dark ages of closed-minded thinking.

With that out in the ether I’ll add this: I’m ashamed of the president and what he’s stirred up in this country and continues to allow with no intelligent comment or rebuke. I have a great admiration for presidents past, and I hope to have a president I can admire and be proud of and respect again, but 45 is not that president. I have great respect for the office of the president, but I do not respect the current president. I can and will make that distinction for the duration of his term. If you voted for him, that is your right, but please don’t try to defend him or your choice. I am tired of that conversation. It’s done.

My heart hurts for the family that lost a sweet daughter yesterday. All she was doing was protesting a hate group. Peacefully. She believed in the diversity and love of all in America and she was marching to show this hate group that she still believed we could all get along, that there was room enough at her table for all. This hate group cannot stand that thought, and one man from that group took it upon himself to violently end her life and injure many others because people like her are trying to put other beliefs, thoughts and color into his whitewashed world.

I believe I am fortunate to be surrounded by a wondrously varied group of people every day. I work for an international company in the most diverse city in America. I work with people who were not born in this country who came here for freedom and chose the US and became citizens. Some are just here for a few years or months, others’ parents or grandparents came here and brought their rich cultures to the greatest melting pot in the world.

I navigate a number of cultures, religions, belief systems, biases and dissimilarities every single day. Harmony, even when there are notable differences, can be achieved if everyone allows their worldview to be wide enough to consider that not everyone was raised the same, believes the same, or wants the same outcomes for their lives.

I still don’t understand the notion of making America great again (MAGA), as if America wasn’t already great. It seems to me that the MAGA directive for the 45 supporter is to regress back to the idea that one way is the only way, which is anchored in ignorance and fear.

I wholeheartedly believe that America’s diversity is its strength. When hate groups march (which is their right as long as they are peaceful) and preach that they want to keep America the way it is or was (for them) they miss the point. America has always been diverse. America has always been a haven for all. These groups have just isolated themselves so much that they are afraid of what and whom they don’t know or understand. Rather than build a bridge, they want to vote everyone else off their very small-minded island.

I’ve lived in Houston 23 years now. I went from a small town in Indiana where most people looked, talked and thought like me to the most diverse and culture rich city in America. I am all the better for it. I understand so much more of the world because the world is here all around me and it is a wondrous assortment of people. If MAGA means isolation, hatred, racism, and a white’s only attitude, I want no part of it.

After the events yesterday in Charlottesville, I was a bit disheartened to say the least. America feels like it is sliding backward, and I feel like a small minority of hatred is going to suck me down with it. I can’t let that happen, but I don’t always know what I can do.

I become overwhelmed with the vastness of the pervasive hatred that some humans have against other humans simply because they are not disciples of the same ethos or they have a different color of skin. What can one person do to turn the tide?

I was reminded today to do something I already try to do – reach one person at a time. Learn as much as I can about our differences and use every opportunity to lift that person up. If that person needs an ally, I will stand with them. I will celebrate everything that makes them unique, because I also thrive when my uniqueness is noted and celebrated.

It really does boil down to treating others as you yourself want to be treated.

Nevertheless, I persist.

Posted in commentary, Ocean, travel, travels, Uncategorized, value

BEACHES

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Work has taken me to Florida again.  This time, I planned a trip to the beach as it will likely rain the rest of the week.  I wanted to get some sand between my toes before I dive into work tomorrow.

After dinner, I sat on the beach for a glorious hour, listening to waves crash and watching a dad bury his two girls in the sand.   I received a text that my parking meter was running low, so I reluctantly headed back to the MINIVAN the rental place gave me.

An old man (and by old, I mean way older than my father), was sitting in a row of chairs in the plaza by himself. He made eye contact so I went over and introduced myself. Carl is no longer able to get down to the ocean. Bad knees, bad hips, bad everything, so he comes down and sits as close to the ocean as he can.

He asked how it was down on the beach and if I put my toes in the water and the sand and what it felt like, so I told him. This particular beach had damp, coarse sand that actually flaked off easier than powdered sand. He thought that was a great description.

We talked some more, then he said, “go while you can. You never know when you won’t be able to feel the sand between your toes anymore.”

He was still smiling, but my heart broke a little bit.  Clearly, he loved the ocean. Those chairs were as close as he was going to get to it at this point in his life as far as he was concerned.

I’m not old by any means, but I know I am at the end of the summer of my life. I can’t imagine a time when I won’t be able to do simple things that give me pleasure, but I know it’s inevitable.

“Enjoy everything while you can,” he reiterated.  “Was it a good trip to the beach?”

Yes, Carl, it was.  Thank you for the reminder that I need to squeeze everything I can out of every moment I can.

 

Posted in advocate, badassery, commentary, community, fearless, politics, Uncategorized

I WANT TO KNOW WHAT, OR RATHER, THAT YOU THINK

Politics, tragedy, religion, guns, nationality and so many more subjects are polarizing, especially in America. I’ve seen families, friends, and communities torn apart because of deeply held beliefs.  Rarely, but thankfully, I have found a few people in my life who can hold deeply held beliefs and still have conversations about the aforementioned subjects and still remain civil and friendly afterward.

I know I’ve been unfollowed, unfriended, branded, and abandoned because of my deeply held beliefs, and I know I’ve unfollowed, unfriended, branded and abandoned others for the same reasons.

Lately, I’ve even been branded as dangerous.  Dangerous? For having different beliefs?  For challenging long-held, deeply-entrenched beliefs and opinions?  Yes.

If I am being labeled dangerous for challenging the status quo of beliefs and thoughts and a lifetime of opinion, know that I relish it. I’d rather be known as someone who examines, inspects, interrogates, and thinks her way through life rather than accepting everything I’m told, skimming over issues to promote an opinion that’s only mine because I carry it forward for someone else.  I’ve lived a lifetime of promoting other agendas because of a sense of duty to what I’ve been told and indoctrinated to believe. I’m finished with that part of my life.

The extraordinary state of thinking for myself was a hard-fought battle. I’d go so far as calling the battle for my own beliefs and opinions a war.  Not only did I have to figure out what I truly believed, I had to fight for my right to express that belief and opinion freely. That’s a war I’m still fighting, because I’m dangerous, you see.

Throughout history, the people in the masses who think for themselves have been labeled as dangerous, especially women.  The awakening of owning a thought or idea that is truly mine is intoxicating, I’ll admit.  The further I pursue my own thoughts and beliefs, the further away from blind obedience to an idea I get, the freer I feel.

I don’t care, really, what a person thinks or believes if I know that they truly have thought, examined, challenged and formed their own thoughts and opinions. All I really care to challenge in a person is that they think for themselves and not follow the masses just because it’s easier and more comfortable to follow the crowd.

A staggering number of people will follow a man in a pulpit, a person on a political soapbox, a person with a certain philosophy – anyone with a message or agenda – without challenging, investigating, examining what the person in charge is saying. If, after study and query, a person agrees with a different ideology than mine, I can respect that.

I have huge issues with people just accepting what another person says without thinking it all through for themselves.  That, to me, is a truly dangerous way to live. It’s why certain pastors and politicians have power – they tap into those minds who will follow without question.

People want to belong to something greater than themselves so much, they turn off their mind’s alarm systems: that doesn’t sound/feel right. I don’t think I agree with that, but if I challenge it, I won’t belong anymore. I believe that’s dangerous.

I wanted to belong to something so badly it turned me into a mindless sheep, and I became so judgmental and hurtful as I followed other people’s agenda.  I stopped thinking for myself at the cost of losing myself.  I put what I wanted/thought/believed over relationships and I believed it was what I should do and because I wanted to belong.

When I started sorting through what I believed and wanted for my life, I know I lost friends.  I lost certain membership in communities that don’t like dangerous thinkers in their midst.  I’ve actually been old-school shunned for challenging the status quo and asking questions.

Ironically, thinking for myself has opened up my mind enough to allow others to think for themselves. I gladly accept differences in opinions and sometimes challenge people with what they believe to be a differing opinion so I can see their resolve and commitment to their belief. Some would call that devil’s advocate, but I call it investigation.

Personally, I don’t care what a person believes, as long as it is truly a belief that is theirs, forged in thought and investigation and fire.  I care more that people think than what they think.  I wish that notion went both ways, but it often doesn’t.  It’s easier to label me a danger than a free-thinker.

I value the discussions I have with people. I enjoy hearing what other people think, and challenging them to own those beliefs and thoughts. If that labels me as dangerous, know that I don’t mind.

 

Posted in about shae, commentary

NEVER FORGETTING…9/11

I watched a little coverage today of the memorial services and recaps of the attack on the World Trade Center.   Watching the footage and seeing how certain people had aged, I was reminded that terrorist attack happened nine years ago.  As this particular day actually passes the images seem like it happened yesterday, but most of the time it feels as if it happened a lifetime ago.

2001 was a very difficult year for me personally.  I’d spent 2000 without a full time job and I carried the weight of my brother’s illness on my heart.  I hadn’t recovered financially or emotionally then, 2001 began with my brother’s passing in January.  Tropical Storm Allison flooded our city in June, and then, as I was beginning to settle into my third part-time job, 9/11 happened.

That day is still one of those occasions where trying to put words to how I felt that day usually fails, which is why this will probably be the longest entry on the subject I’ve written since I started blogging seven years ago (and there was that one September 11th that were preoccupied with Hurricane Ike).

I woke up at 9 a.m. that fateful day and called a co-worker to tell him I wouldn’t be coming in because I had a fever of over 100 and needed to rest. He asked me if I’d turned on the tv yet.  I told him I hadn’t and he told me to stay home and that the building was empty because the other handful of pastors and associates were all out of town (Maine, Arizona, Nashville) and didn’t know how they would be getting back and he had to go to the hospital to be with one of our families who’s baby had decided to make her entrance into the world.  I let all that information sink in, then I turned on the television.

After a few hours of watching people jump off the burning World Trade Center and watching replay after replay of the towers crumbling to the ground in dust, I had to turn the tv off.  Over half of the hundreds of channels I had were covering the devastation.  I was feverish, fatigued, and a little scared because my apartment was close to the tallest building in town, and it had been evacuated that morning.  We just didn’t know what was going to happen that day or the days that followed.  I didn’t want to go outside, but eventually, I had to leave the house.

Walking around the city the next few days was surreal. The skies were so still and quiet. I had never realized how much noise airplanes generate in my daily life until all flights in the United States were grounded. 

My friends eventually got back to the city, two in the last rental car in the city they were in, the others also rented cars and one started his trip back from Maine – a long drive with a small child in the car – on his birthday, which he now celebrates every year in the shadow of the sorrow of this day.  I learned of stories of those, who for some reason didn’t get on planes that day because they overslept, or were sick, and one cancelled her trip because she listened to that still, small voice inside that said, “cancel your trip. Don’t get on that plane,” and she didn’t have any peace until she cancelled that flight. 

I think we all felt the weight of the towers on our chests for weeks.  Eventually, though, America picked up and moved on, ever determined that hatred would not kill the human spirit, especially the American spirit.  Still, every year, when that day in September rolls around, we all pause and remember that day our lives changed forever, the day most of us woke up and realized we were not safe from attack, not even on our own soil.

I pray that someday, after the new memorial is finished and the new towers stretch into the sky, that the pain for Americans will ease a little, especially for those who lost someone they loved in those attacks.  I pray the pain eases, not enough to forget, but enough to be able to walk side by side with our Muslim brothers and sisters and not associate them with the handful of extremists that flew into our safety zone and hit us while our guard was down. 

I wonder, if we ask some of our Muslim friends or others from volatile areas of the world who have immigrated here why they came to America, I wonder how many will answer that it was to escape countries where they had no freedoms, and where violence in the streets and explosions are commonplace.  While what happened this day in New York was horrible and unimaginable, it is a rare, rare event for most of us, and there are places in the world where this violence happens every day.  Let’s not forget that either.

As the beacons shine into the light sky from the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood, I’m grateful that I live in a country where violence of this magnitude is something that usually happens elsewhere.  I wish it didn’t happen at all, anywhere, yet it does.  So, on September 11, I will remember those who perished at the hands of blind hatred, and never forget how blessed I am to live in America.

Posted in commentary, spiritual life, Yahweh's fingerprints

THE BONFIRE OF INTOLERANCE

This week I have watched a misguided pastor in Gainesville, Florida, take the media hostage by exercising his right to his Freedom of Speech. What this man has reminded me is that Freedom of Speech is every American’s right even if that right gives an ignorant, intolerant person an opportunity to spread their ignorance. He’s also reminded me that sometimes, the freedom to shut my mouth is sometimes much more important and impactful.

Given that, I’m going to exercise my Freedom of Speech right now. 

Another freedom that Pastor Terry also, by exercising his freedom of speech, is, indeed, drawing attention to is some Christians’ double standard of Freedom of Religion. Many Christians jump on their religious soapboxes to laud their freedom as Christians to do whatever they want to in the name of God, then cry out in horror when another religion wants to exercise the same right. Freedom of Religion is freedom for ALL religions (regardless of what some may say the original intent was) and Christians in America are going to have to get over that fact.  If Christians in America feel their freedoms are being attacked, maybe, in retrospect, they might see they did that to themselves by acting as if Freedom of Religion was all about them all these years.

Some may be unwilling to say this out loud, but in our lifetime, America has ceased to be a “Christian” country.  Without going off on a tangent about the reasons this has happened, I’m going to point out one: I believe misguided, intolerant Christians exercising their Freedom of Speech are in part to blame. If someone on the journey of seeking God, continually sees these “representatives of God” spewing hate, showing up at soldier’s funerals with banners saying, “God hates fags,” and blaming earthquakes on voodoo and hurricanes on homosexuals, it’s no wonder that so many people, even if they believe in God, no longer want to have anything to do with organized religion in America.  I teeter on that abyss all the time.

We are a society driven by media, so it’s no wonder that the pastors with the microphones in their hand and the the ones with the most outrageous notions and ideas are the face of Christianity in America. The bonfire of intolerance and ignorance is burning higher each day and I cringe at the thought of it blowing up into irreparable ashes because people couldn’t exercise their right not to speak. I honestly think these people believe, again misguidedly, that God needs them to say and do all these crazy things on his behalf so they’ll see that he is…God.

I am reminded of my days in journalism class when I was challenged often by my wonderful teacher, Bonnie Shipman, to exercise my right of Freedom of Speech, but to also be prepared for the consequences of that action.

I don’t think Pastor Terry thought, when he sought to burn the Quaran, that General Petraeus and the US Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, would be calling him, begging him to think of what the image of the Muslim’s Holy book burning being blasted throughout the Middle East would do to the safety of those overseas fighting for his right to say whatever the heck he wants in the name of God on television and in the newspaper.  I think he honestly believes he is honoring God by hosting a good old-fashioned book burning.

I don’t believe anyone will come to saving faith through this pastor’s actions. In fact, what I do think will happen are bad things. Very bad, unloving, un-Christlike things. Protests have already begun in Afghanistan. People have already been killed. The outrage has already begun and one Quaran is yet to be burned… or not burned. Stay tuned.

I can’t say I’ve never said anything stupid or hateful over the years in the name of God. For those of you who have heard me say those things or have been hurt by them, I beg your forgiveness. Those things were drawn from the well of having yet to understand that God is big enough to handle Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion. I think I finally have a better understanding of who God is and that what God does and does not do… is bigger than me.

I’ve learned so much from my diverse pool of friends, be they atheist, Buddhist, liberal, Jewish, Muslim, gay, straight, lesbian or a mixture of some or all of those things and more… mostly how to get along with people who don’t think or live like I do (and if you bother to get to know people, sometimes you find out they DO think like you do – amazing!). It’s a lesson I unfortunately did not learn early on in my exclusive pool of conservative, Christian only, friends. 

I think Time columnist Tim Padgett (who coined bonfire of intolerance) summed up my feelings for the week:

So what can American Christians outraged by Jones’ hatefulness do? Stop by a local mosque today and wish the people well as they celebrate ‘Id al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan (and try one of the great sweets). Or for that matter, wish Jewish people well as they celebrate the High Holy Days that began Wednesday evening with Rosh Hashanah. But most of all, remember how lousy it felt this week when the world equated you with Terry Jones.

While Terry Jones has made me angry this week, I also need to remember his right to do and say whatever he wants is protected, even now, by the people he is setting up to be attacked because of his actions this week.  I’ve seen some comments by people wishing him ill and just take a deep breath and realize being a hater back to him isn’t a Christlike answer either.

It all boils down to this:  If I believe everything I just said, I have to be tolerant of Terry Jones.

Dang, this practicing what I preach thing sure isn’t easy, but worthwhile endeavors rarely are.

Posted in commentary, femininity, random, Yahweh's fingerprints

THE MOST HANDSOME JERK I’VE EVER SEEN

I don’t know if they have HEB grocery stores where you live, but it’s my favorite grocery store. One of the primary reasons I shop there is because all their workers are happy, cheerful, and helpful. I’ve yet to find an exception to this observation. At this grocery store, customer service is primary and I believe one of the reasons for its success. (Don’t worry, Whole Foods you are a close second, and your customer service is also excellent!)

I have purposely stopped shopping at certain stores because their customer service is terrible, their clerks (and managers) are so rude and so sour and beyond unhelpful that I’d rather pay $5 more per shopping trip to shop anywhere else. My time is precious to me, and I’d rather enjoy my time doing something I have to do anyway, than leave a store all tense and drained because of someone else’s rudeness.

The actual story of this blog entry started at HEB Wednesday after work. I was in the checkout line and was greeted warmly by M. She’s scanned my groceries before. Always pleasant. The young lady who was bagging my groceries very graciously ran to get me a bigger cart because I’d overstuffed the little one I had. When she came back, M was almost finished scanning my groceries and was scanning my coupons.

That’s when we both noticed him. A very good looking man had come up behind me. I am rarely caught off guard by how good looking a person is. Quite frankly, I rarely make it past a man’s eyes, but this man caught my attention. He was over 6’ tall, muscular, very short blonde hair, well chiseled face, blue-eyed and just generally FINE. The kind of fine that you thank God for making to decorate the Earth even though you could never picture yourself with someone that breathtaking because he’s too pretty and that kind of pretty is usually more high maintenance than I am. He even made the surgical scrubs he was wearing more handsome. A FINE looking man. Dr. Fine.

I could tell M didn’t feel well but she was still working and still smiling and most important, not complaining or smashing my groceries around. She looked at me and almost giggled because this guy was that good looking. Mind you, she looked to be close to my age and not a teenager, so that reaction just amplified his Adonis-ness. Meanwhile, the young lady who was bagging my groceries was called away by her manager to go pick up her till so she could take over for M. M began finishing up where the young lady left off.

Personally, the exit of the young lady didn’t bother me. I try not to be in a hurry most days because usually it’s a waste of energy. Besides, it was a mere second before M began to bag my final items. No. Big. Deal.

Mind you, this was not an express lane, and Dr. Fine only had an armful of items. He watched the young lady walk away and immediately barked, “well, she must work by the hour! She’s so slow!” That’s when I tuned him out. He angrily picked up his five items and stomped off to an actual express lane.

M and I looked at each other and I said,“He was so cute until he opened his mouth.” M agreed with me. She asked me what I thought he meant about working “hourly”, and I told her that someone like that thinks that people who get paid by the hour are beneath him for any number of reasons. She shook her head and finished bagging my groceries. I told her to be glad she’s not him because she’d be wasting that beautiful shell on a dry, shallow well. She smiled and the young lady had returned with her till, all smiles and ready to go, and M could finally go home and get some rest. I hope she’s feeling better today.

I pushed my big cart through the lanes and as I was leaving, I saw Dr. Fine still waiting in line in the express lane, looking all sour and angry. He was no longer handsome. He was no longer desirable. He was no longer Dr. Fine.

People have bad days and are sometimes short or terse with others. I know that happens. I’m guilty of that myself. It’s what came out of his mouth, however, that was most offensive. That’s when he turned into the handsomest jerk I’d ever seen.

Dr. No Longer Fine saw me as I passed his lane and I hope my eyes communicated what I was thinking: What’s inside of a person really is more important than what’s on the outside… but he probably thought I was in awe of him. From afar, he may get away with being pretty and he probably gets stared at a lot, but I wonder how many women he’s turned off with what’s underneath that well-chisled exterior.

Then I went home and in between putting my groceries away and looking out the window to see what my Green Onion was up to with my car repair (actually he was hanging upside down looking under my dash, but that’s another story), I looked in the mirror and faced the ugliness that sometimes lurks inside of me. Part of my makeover has to be an examination of my interior to make sure what’s inside is more beautiful and lovely than what covers it.

I wonder if Dr. No Longer Fine will ever realize that instead of looking in a mirror, he was the mirror.

Posted in commentary, Yahweh's fingerprints

TEARS AND PRAYERS FOR HAITI

I haven’t commented much on the tragedy that exploded onto the airwaves reporting a major earthquake on the island of Haiti that has killed thousands. To be quite honest, I get overwhelmed when tragedy of this enormity strikes. As someone who stood next to my brother’s bedside as he slipped away in death, I know the weight of tremendous and inexpressible grief. To multiply that by 100,000… I just can’t wrap my brain around that.

Entire families are just…gone. People all over the world are sitting by the phone and are scanning the internet trying to ascertain the wellbeing of loved ones. Relief is pouring in from all over the world, but the pain is still a sinkhole that seems to keep growing for those who remain or who have been left behind.

From all these years learning to see inside myself, I have learned to see outside myself. I could, like many, choose to just pretend this tragedy didn’t happen, go on with my life, head in the sand. In the past several years, however, my worldview has changed. I have friends from all over the world and I have friends serving God all over the world. I also journey with a community called Ecclesia, a richly creative and unique garden that has helped me grow in ways I don’t think I would journeying anywhere else. I am often challenged to think beyond my own borders and outside the box, and from those challenges, inspired to take action (in whatever form is appropriate at the time).

I just viewed some heartbreaking photos of people who lost their lives, most crushed by buildings or dying in the aftermath. It’s been awful to see how some people have reacted, especially people like Pat Robertson, who have once again thrust their most un-Christlike thoughts into the media in the name of Jesus. People like Pat, who rise up in the midst of devastation to declare God has judged this devastated country and it’s hurting people with this earthquake are one of the reasons I often refer to myself as a recovering Evangelical if I have to label myself as anything other than a broken Christ-follower or Sassy beloved of God.

I have struggled to try to find a nice way of telling the world that Pat Robertson does not represent the mind of Christ in this matter nor does he represent me, broken Christ-follower, Sassy beloved of God. Fortunately, I read this blog by author Donald Miller who articulated exactly how I felt without me having to give Mr. Robertson’s misguided words any more of my creative energy.

One thing I would add, though, is that perhaps Mr. Robertson needs to forget any fancy seminary training he may have had and learn how all this really works:

‘Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is nearly as important, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22: 37-39 (The Voice)

As a friend once told me, if you get these two directives down, the rest just falls into place. While I witness the outpouring of love in Haiti, I can see that there are people out there who really do get it, no seminary degree or formal spiritual training necessary.

I can’t be there in person, brothers and sisters in Haiti, but the action I can engage in this moment is prayer, which I know really does work beyond the realm of my understanding.

I’m so thankful Pat Robertson doesn’t know me and had no words to offer me when my heart was breaking and I was overwhelmed with grief and the world didn’t make sense any more. I am thankful for the reminder, though, Pat, that if my first thought in the face of tragedy isn’t love or compassion or mercy, perhaps it’s better if I just shut up instead.

Posted in commentary, politics

PRESIDENT OBAMA

I don’t think I will ever forget this day.

As I sat and watched our 44th president being sworn in this morning, I couldn’t hold back the tears. The day was laced with historical moments, including being sworn in with the same Bible as Abraham Lincoln.

I watched as Obama took the oath of office and the country (most of it) rejoiced. I don’t know what will happen in the next four years, but my hope is that this new direction will be a good, productive one.

One thing I did hear broadcast today resonated with me. A woman who was attending the inauguration with her daughters said that she talked to her daughters about why today was so important, why the election of someone who represents a different ethnicity than the previous 43 presidents was historical and significant. Her hope is that when her daughters have daughters of their own and they recall their memories of this day and explain why this day was laden with historical significance, that her granddaughters will wonder why having an African-American president is a big deal.

My heart echoes that hope and I look forward to the day when we’re all just Americans no matter what our skin color or heritage is. May that day come sooner than later.