Thank you so much for allowing me to share a few memories last week. Sharing some of my story was helpful for me. I hope it stirred your own thoughts and memories as well.
I am also grateful for my coworkers. Some have participated in protests. Others have been brainstorming ideas for how we can continue as a faith community to stand against racism. It is encouraging to witness faith in action!
By now, most of us have been overwhelmed with news stories about protests. So, today instead of looking at the past, I’d like to ponder our way forward. I see four steps. At first glance, they may appear to be easy steps. However, I believe as we move into the journey, we will discover each step comes with its own challenges. The four steps are Listen, Learn, Stay Active and Pray.
In all my years as a counselor I have never found another tool more effective in producing change. Listening is a gift. Listening demonstrates to the speaker that we value them. At this moment in time, our family, friends, neighbors and community each need to feel valued. Take the time to listen.
Educate yourself and others. Participate in studies that address race relations. Learn about the challenges police officers face. Learn especially about your own community. Every community has gaps in services. These gaps keep old destructive patterns alive. As a counselor, I’ve discovered there is one thing worse than running into a brick wall. It is finding yourself in those wide open spaces where no services and no support network exist. Every community is different so learn about your own unique neighborhood and community. What are the old patterns that your community supports simply because nothing exists to initiate and support change?
- Stay Active
When the protests fade, stay active. The reason progress seems so slow is that people show up for protests and then go home and resume “business as usual.” We cannot afford to do this, or we will find ourselves on the same hamster wheel 50 years from now. Let’s make a commitment. Let’s check in with each other every three months. George Floyd died on May 25, 2020. I’ll check in with you again on the 25th of August, November, February 2021, and May 25th, 2021. I look forward to hearing about your progress!
Even more powerful than listening, is prayer.
When all is said and done, at the end of the day, there is a family that will grieve the loss of a son, brother, father. Pray for them. And there is the police officer’s family that will now be disrupted by court dates, lawyer fees and possible jail time. Also, if history does repeat itself, his family are quite likely to become targets of harassment.
- Please join our Bereavement Team in our commitment to pray for George Floyd’s family and the families of the police officers for one whole year.
- Pray for every family impacted by social injustice.
- Pray for our nation. July 4th is barely a month away. Pray our nation can heal. Pray we can learn and grow together as a nation. Ask God to teach us. Ask God to remove whatever it is that has slowed down our growth so far.
- Pray for our children.
Next week my plan is to go back to posting suggestions for getting through tough times. Let’s also pray that we do not face any new crisis this week! Thanks!
Have a healthy week!