The Violence of White Silence

The violence of white silence 

Those words haunt me almost as much as the images and videos of innocent people being shot, beaten, arrested, and stripped of all humanity. 

It haunts me because it makes me uncomfortable. 

And it should. 

Because my inherited skin color has allowed me to remain comfortable for 30 years. The box I check under the question of race has afforded me the privilege to keep scrolling right through my day. It’s granted me the ignorance of remaining deaf and mute, while simultaneously  diagnosing me with short-term memory loss.  

Just keep scrolling. Just keep scrolling. 

Medication for that memory? None necessary. Those symptoms I was born with – they just confirm I’m alright. 

I mean, after all, I’m white

Not by choice mind you. I came into this world not of my own volition. I was somehow fearlessly and wonderfully crafted in the womb of a woman I hadn’t even met. My entire outfit hand-picked for me. From the top of my bald head to the bottom of my pale, un-calloused feet. 

But I bet my scream for the breath of life sounded just like yours. 

I bet it sounded just like Ahmaud’s did 26 years ago. 

Just like Sean Reed’s. 

And Atatiana Jefferson’s. 

And Alton Sterling’s. 

And Mike Brown’s. 

And Tamir Rice’s. 

And Philando Castile’s. 

And Freddie Gray’s. 

And…

Nevertheless, my scream eventually faded  off and learned the systematic art of constraint and control; muscle atrophy at its finest and its most deadly

I’m not sure Ahmaud was ever granted that privilege. The privilege of blissful, ignorant silence. 

Instead, he died by the hands of violent men. He died fighting violent men with violent voices and violent hearts. 

Yet, here I sit in my violent silence. 

It’s deafening at times. 

Because “there comes a time when silence is betrayal,” and I will be remembered for what I chose not to say. 

A time where I will question who I betrayed the most.   

“There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor political nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right.”

So is your conscience awake? Or is it just wearing the mask of being “woke?”

Too many people have died fighting for their basic human right of life. Too many others never had that choice.  

Oh, but I get to choose. If my privilege has afforded me anything; it is the undeniable freedom of choice. The choice to remain silent and diagnosed, or the choice to open my eyes, rise up and speak. 

If you bow your head for grace before you sleep, if you jog in your neighborhood as a healthy pastime and not from being chased, if you drive your car with a fearless mind, if you shop at your local grocery store, if you play loud music, if you sit in your house surrounded by family, if you live and breathe, if you dream of a better tomorrow for your children…

Please, choose the latter. 

I can never know the fear, the reality, the suffering. I can never imagine the pain that has been inflicted or the tears that have soaked the pillows of too many mothers. 

But I can humble myself. 

I can repent. 

I can act. 

When this news cycle passes; what then? 

Whose names will you remember?  

Who will you chose to break your silence for?

What then?

What now?

….

The violence of white silence. 

Those words haunt me. 

But they will not remain true of me.

*quotes borrowed from Martin Luther King Jr.

Gold

I wrote these words hoping to post them with the above picture. I let perfectionism, pride, and fear stop me. Instead, I quickly wrote a short caption that pushed the depths of my feelings and thoughts to the side.

I can’t change that post. I can however, share those original words here; in a space with no word limit.

Attempting to finish up the second bedroom/office this week and finding a place for this print is at the top of the priority list. ⠀⠀

These words are from another time – but the motivation that sparked them is sadly all too relevant. Conviction and inspiration and deep moments of ponder are what I would call ‘equal opportunity offenders’ and these words have stayed with me since I heard them. They have sat on the back of my mind and applied pressure to my heart. They carry weight – powerful words not spoken lightly. ⠀⠀

Lately, I’ve been surrounding myself with movies, shows, books, and conversations filled with words that are constantly challenging me – that make me uncomfortable. Even posting on social media pushes me out of my comfort zone. Words these days are far more permanent than they used to be – and one person’s opinion or question or thought can start a feud no one bargained for – and a fight that people rarely actually want. ⠀⠀

I’ve always been one to believe that if you’re going to talk – you should be saying something. ⠀⠀

Maybe it’s why I don’t talk very often (granted I talk more than I once did). I tend to stay quiet with my thoughts. I voice my opinions to the person in the mirror and move on with my day; sometimes hoping someone will offer me a penny along the way. ⠀⠀

I believe that our voices have been severely attacked by the enemy, and in finding a taste of freedom, a warped perception of truth has snuck into the mix. In a generation and time when people have all begun to speak – words have been shot out with an air of domineering entitlement rather than the humble authority we were born to speak with. ⠀⠀

Our words seem to be thrown around like participation trophies and we are being saturated and overwhelmed with never knowing what’s real gold and what’s just painted metal.⠀⠀

Oh, how I desperately want to be real gold. Not flaky nor easily chipped. Not too shiny. Just pure, unarguable, simple gold. ⠀⠀

But real gold means fire and hammers and sanctification and then most likely – more fire. It means time and patience and pain – something rarely found in a one-click, just swipe, do what feels good society. ⠀⠀

Real gold means I’ve got to start somewhere. ⠀⠀

So I’m starting here. With words that challenge me to do and be better; that remind me to say something when I talk. I’m starting here; with a post that in my head, has no resolution. ⠀⠀

It just is what it is; a messy process of life painted pretty in a square photo.

still I will trust You

riverwest-3-fall

Goodbyes become normal in our community; we have a metaphorical revolving door at the front of our office that is continually set on a spin cycle. It’s difficult and beautiful and an incredible opportunity to learn how to dive deep, love deeper, and send people off with joy, celebration, and rejoicing.

But it’s also a time of wet eyes, lumps in throats, and unexpected emotions of grief in 3o’clock meetings.

Continue reading “still I will trust You”

it’s about that time

“I once asked myself how to stop wanting something. 

The only thing I heard back was that I had to start wanting something else more. 

So began the transition into the new season of what I pray actually gets me to that point. And here now is where you find me; three months later on a midnight Friday eve, lying restless in my bed staring at the ceiling and talking to myself. I’d tell you that at least I haven’t started talking back, but I’m not sure that would be entirely true. 

Continue reading “it’s about that time”