I will attempt to articulate as best as I am able, what’s been swirling around in my head for the last few days. It may zig zag a bit as I let it come forth unedited…
I’ve been thinking about Charlotte. Charlotte, and every other location that is experiencing the same red hot cry for help. Cry for the rest of us to wake up, pay attention, notice, get up, do something, something, anything, not just sit back in the status quo like nothing more than the screen in front of you matters.
My husband had a marathon race last week. It was in Charlotte, N.C and got cancelled because of the protests and state of emergency. He was really looking forward to the run, but at the end of his day, all that he registered, was a mere blip… just something that could not be checked off of his list of things I want to do. Meanwhile, on those same streets days earlier, people were fighting for basic rights to feel safe, protected, respected, honoured… loved, in a place that should always feel like home. It’s 2016 for God’s sake. How on earth are we still managing to treat people like dirt, with dirt probably faring better, but not too much?
Days later, when Charlotte is no longer the “hot” topic in the media… I understand, really. Other bad things are vying for the top spot, but this is not a TV show. This is really life with real people. My daughter is now set to run a cross country event there tomorrow. While I pray for her success and that of her team mates, I wonder what is happening on the streets and behind the scenes. What is happening with the protest and I now seek the alternative media and online posts from those in the area to find out.
I may not be black, gay, or a member of whatever persecuted group of the day it is, but I am a human being who cares about life… life in all of its many forms. I am a woman. I have children. I have adopted this country, for better or worse, as my home and I do care about simple things like freedom, fairness, enjoyment of life… I care about other things too, but those will do for now.
I register the contrast of my daughter’s running event with peaceful protests, not so peaceful protests, good police men and women, bad ones… People who are able to run freely without being held back and others marching, desiring that same sense of freedom for their everyday lives. Same country. Same state. Same streets.
I notice my friend on facebook has posted several updates with new videos. I am thankful, for she is keeping me in the know with what’s happening on the streets, in city council chambers…
For a minute, I wonder if she has lost any facebook friends because of the type of posts she is sharing. I wonder if people have blocked notifications because the subject matter makes them feel… annoyed, irritated, guilt, shame, unbearable sadness or pain, apathy, disinterest or denials and push back?
I wonder when lives are being taken out in front of our very eyes, why someone, maybe you, chooses to take their distance? I guess, plain and simple, the truth sometimes hurts. Feeling someone else’s painful perspective may be a bit too uncomfortable and you just want to get back to your electronic gadget, for God’s sake! For me, I know that when I really see what is in front of me, I am unable to just walk away. It nags at me, tugs at me… My conscience propels me forward. It calls me to wake up. I don’t know why. It just does. And, sometimes, I am reluctant as hell to heed the call. I may even wish that my mind had not fed me that bit of insight. However, once I hear the directive, it’s done and now, it is my going within to feel what is mine to do.
In addition to my daughter who loves to run with the wind, I have a son. Beautiful brown eyes with the lightest of beige skin tones. Is there truly anyone whose skin colour would be 100% white like the colour scale? He reminds me of the other sons who are out there. I think of black sons slaughtered without reverence for their precious lives. How can you; mother, father, sister, brother, auntie, uncle, grandma, grandpa… not mourn that? I think of brown sons locked away for too many years. How can we forget about you? Yellow sons deported when their services were no longer required. Anyone ever feel tossed to the side, discarded like a useless piece of trash? And too many red sons treated abominably in their birth land. Their land. Their water. Things that they do not even seek to possess, but instead to cherish.
Lands and waters right now being callously disregarded because some high and mighty power has commandeered the stage. It’s the same unholy pattern that brought some of us here in the first place. The hostile takeover continues… seek out, plunder, take over, trick, destroy, desecrate, annihilate. Have I omitted anything? Where did this evil strain come from anyway? I would have deep satisfaction in writing a book, no it should be a movie, where the Native American sons and daughters rise up and take back what is rightfully theirs. I’ll omit the swearing that I’d like to include right now and simply say that I’d be immensely satisfied to have them cast the “bad” element on a boat and send them packing. Of course later, I would have to deal with how I feel and the issue of forgiveness. To the rightful owners of this nation, teach me your way which reveres Mother Earth, sea and sky. Teach me your way which respects all life that surrounds.
I would love to see a movie that somehow was able to bring back (yes, I am dreaming, but it’s my movie) and re-connect families who were torn apart by slavery, genocide… Help them to live and feel safe and at home, wherever they choose to be. And since it’s a film, shackle every slave-owning mentality onto a cargo ship and eject them on a never-ending voyage with their own kind for company. I could do worse by them, but again, in the end, I have to live with myself.
Those who seek to do harm and pray on the defenceless, put them in a ring of fire (symbolic not actual) without weapons and pit them against the lions, tigers, elephants, whales, dolphins… the list goes on and on. My conscience feels fine with this scene. I prefer that even playing field to the one that has you with the assault rifle and the innocents unarmed.
For a moment, I go there. The reality is, even for the seemingly ungodly creatures, I must find space in my heart to not do you intentional harm, much as I’d like to. I do want you to face justice though and it’d be nice if you achieve some understanding and accountability of your “wicked” ways. Nice for you to finally come forth with what feels like fair and just atonement. Can’t bring lives back though and therein lies such heartbreak.
People don’t like to feel wrong or bad though, so the space has to be there for you to come to a place of truth.
I pray that by the Grace of God, inspired actions and enough open hearts willing to live and love together in harmony and peace, will bring to bear the blessed community that Martin Luther King dreamed about. I pray one day that this will be our shared experience. All shades. All walks of life. Loving the richeness of our collective histories and backgrounds and what we hold steadily in mind as heaven on earth. May God’s Light envelop you and me both, with no-one ever feeling the need to fight for a bigger piece.
Nicola Karesh, copyright © 2016 but please share freely