Let me start this in the most honest way I know how. I really want you to read it. Not only do I want you to read it, I want you to be so touched/challenged/empowered by it that you share it. You see, I had this crazy experience over the summer where A LOT of people engaged with something I wrote and for a brief moment I felt like I had a window into other peoples lives: their celebrations and their pain. And for that moment, I felt like I was making a difference. It was a very personal and very powerful experience that I will always hold dear to my heart. However, every time I have sat down at my keyboard since then I have had to fight the urge to write simply so that I could experience it again. And I am afraid that I never will. That fear has made it difficult for me to simply share my heart, which is likely the very thing people responded to the first time. Ironic, huh?
That’s the thing about fear though, it keeps us trapped; holds us hostage to its demands. Before you start thinking of that time that your fear of failure motivated you to achieve let me show you what I mean by looking at three things that have a lot more in common than you might think:
Standing Rock, Racial Injustice and this Presidential Election.
Each one of these issues, all of which break my heart on a daily basis, are driven by fear. I think it’s fair to say that we can call out the bottom line of each of one quickly and simply:
Standing Rock– Private interests before the common good.
Racial Injustice– Personal perspective before empathy and compassion
Presidential Election– Political agenda before national well-being.
In every one of these instances one group or person is focused on themselves, their interests. That’s not a judgement, it’s an observation. It’s human nature to think about ourselves first. I know this all too well. I’m a Christian. What’s more, I believe in the Church. And we (the Church) know from fear: fear of change, fear of loosing control, fear of losing all we hold dear. I also happen to be white. There’s a whole other set of fears. Fear that I am going to find out that I’m the bad guy, fear that I may realize that the happy little world I thought I lived in is an illusion. And I am an American. One who loves this country dearly but can’t help be see the cracks in the wall. There is so much too fear. You might argue that I just need a little courage, but courage is a side-effect. The opposite of fear isn’t courage, its love. The kind of love that is willing to get dirty and take risks; the kind that sees what could be instead of what is or was; that kind of love will trump fear any day of the week. You see, fear is about me and love is about you. As long as I live my life focused on myself, my interests, my perspective, my agenda, I will always be ruled by fear. But when my
focus shifts, when I put others first, I become free to engage the world for what it really is: scary and terrible, but beautiful beyond compare. Then and only then can I become a part of the solution. That’s when I can effect change, the kind that actually matters.
So I will care more about the health and well-being of people and less about how much I pay for gas; I will continue to learn what it is to not be white in America and call BS when I see it; and I will pray like crazy for my country and those people who are trying to lead it. What will you do?