I hear you. I hear that you feel as if you’re being treated unfairly. I hear that you feel you are being called into account for something that you did not choose as an active participant. I hear that the idea that sometimes we operate by biases that we do not understand is not something you want to acknowledge or are willing to entertain. I hear that this is really painful for you. And yes, ministers are supposed to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable, and I hear you say that you are also discomfited, and I want you to know that I hear that there are no comfortable among us in the world in which we live.
I hear you that your pain is real as well. That you feel as if you are being called names that should be reserved for those who carry torches or physically attack people. I hear you that you do not equate being unintentionally complicit with these sorts of actions and that you do not want to be shamed. I hear you that you do not want to be given the same label as people you despise or see that you have anything in common with them. I hear you that you did your best in your part of the world as much as you knew to do what was the best for those you loved and those you didn’t even know.
I hear you say that you are also upset about the world you are leaving those who come after you, and that you wonder now why you did take the risky actions you did take. I hear you say that while we have much scientific evidence of bias and studies as well, you’re pretty sure that doesn’t mean you.And I hear that you are suspicious of those who would bring a message or even allow it to be spoken which might suggest that we played some part of this crazy new world we live in or that we ourselves contributed to these divides.
In my life, I have been recently called into an awareness that intention and the even the knowledge that I have fought desperately to hold can be inadequate in the face of forces that are beyond my recognition. I have had to understand, though it felt as if it would kill me and destroy everything I like about myself, that by not being able to hear the cry of another, I have harmed those I love, and perpetuated systems which denied their very humanity at some basic level. I’m grateful every day, despite the pain that is now a larger part of my life, to have this awareness and to be able to, when I have the strength and fortitude to do so, to continue to gain knowledge and facility at listening. I need to do that as a mother, as a citizen and as one who embraces our faith which calls us to engage with one another over our differences rather than avoiding them or using indirect communication. I have had to hear the voices of our young people and those particularly marginalized and hear that they are feeling pain in different ways than I am. They are the ones calling us into this dialogue.
I invite you to join Reverend Neal and I on Wednesday night at 7:30 p.m. in the sanctuary as we begin out “Justice Unfurled” series.We will be talking about how it is that we are having a conversation about white supremacy culture in Unitarian Universalism. I invite you to come for dinner beforehand, sign up to tell us you are coming, because though we may not think alike, we can still breaking bread together. And we truly can be better family to one another when we can hear one another.