Tuesday, February 23, 2016

the white mama at the race discussion...

Being a transracial family often feels culturally homeless.  

We don't quite fit here.  We don't quite fit there.  

But our hope is that more folks of every color will become passionate about the role of reconciliation and bridge building in our community.  

What was originally going to be a weekend out of town unexpectedly turned into a weekend of delving into black history and culture.  (due to a vertigo attack late Thursday night)

A local urban ministry hosted a panel discussion called "Why do Black Lives Matter?" featuring 5 distinguished African American leaders in our area.  Questions like "Do black lives matter or do all lives matter?" and "What can an everyday person do to affirm that black lives do, indeed, matter?" were addressed, and there was good (yet uncomfortable) discussion about the subjects of race and poverty in our community. 

Unfortunately, an event like this that is SO needed, was not well-attended.  I'd guess there were 30-40 people there, and only 8-10 were white.

(I'm much more comfortable now than I used to be in a setting where I'm the minority by far, but to think, that is almost always my Jameson's experience...)

As I sat and listened to the shared experiences and struggles of being black in America, even from PhD's, it was honestly very difficult and uncomfortable.  Honestly, this was a world I knew nothing about until just a few years ago.  And even though my eyes have been opened to see and my heart opened to caring, it all feels so heavy and overwhelming at times.

But I must continue learning,
must continue listening,
and must join up with others in the slow road towards reconciliation.

I have a son who needs me to understand.  A son who needs me to prepare him to live in today's world as a black man.

I do not pretend to know what I'm doing in the least.

But it's important that I'm doing everything in my power to try.

In addition to the panel discussion, we were able to visit a multi-ethnic church downtown, just blocks from our house.  As a worship director, it's rare for me to get a week "off," so we took the opportunity to visit.

Of course, as expected, the small congregation was amazingly welcoming.  Everyone spoke to us.  People we'd never met gave us hugs afterwards.

At one point during the music, Jameson pointed to someone up front and said, "Brown!!"

I whispered in his ear, "Do you mean brown skin?"

"Uh huh!" he said with a smile.

Finally.  A Sunday where my son was in the majority.

It was a beautiful picture of the Gospel to seeing all nations, all ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic levels worshipping Christ together.

Out of my two children, I guess I thought Jameson would stir up the most attention at the multi-ethnic church.  (And he did get lots of great attention, don't get me wrong!) But it was my daughter's bald head that drew several people to ask her how she was feeling, etc.  One older gentleman, whose intentions were nothing but kind, asked to pray with us, and IN FRONT OF CAROLINE said, "God, we pray that you would give her hair.  We know she is so pretty without it, but God, you'd make her prettier with it."   (!!!!)  

(You better believe I brought that one up later in conversation with Caroline... I think she's just used to all of it at this point...)

After church, the four of us headed to a diner downtown, and as Marc walked up to pay for lunch, the cashier told him, "This bill has been erased.  Someone else has already paid it for you."

Thank you, sweet stranger.

And thank you, God, for this simultaneously amazing and crazy life you have given to me.

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