I’m sick to my stomach. I’m reeling from from the events in Charleston. It’s more than my brain can process, more than my heart can hold.
I was mediating on my yoga mat this morning. Another Thursday. Another Northeast Florida scorcher of a day. The gong sounded and I opened my eyes. Calm, peaceful and ready to face the day, I did something I try to avoid before work- I checked Facebook.
Charleston, my husband’s hometown. A place I have visited often over the years, filled with history and beautiful churches. Now filled again with tragedy.
The internet exploded with opinions, conjecture and finger pointing. I had been mulling over a blog post for days in response to what I see as an overall disconnect many people have with our history.
Every generation feels that the world is going to hell in a hand basket. Throughout history we’ve seen what happens when people begin to fear and their fears are fed by the haters with power and a megaphone.
Fear and hate creates scapegoats and breeds violence. Jews were blamed for the trouble in Germany and one hater rose to take command of a whole country, and tried to rule the world. The world loves a scapegoat, doesn’t it?
It’s human nature to find someone lower than ourselves to kick and blame. Blacks, Jews, Mexicans, Native Americans, Muslims, Irish, Italians, Germans, Poles, Women, Catholics, and always the Poor.
I’m saddened and I am sickened by this world we live it today. I’m tired of reading about innocent people doing their best to live their lives while some hater decides their lives don’t matter. Fifty years ago the haters tried to stop black children from attending schools in white neighborhoods. Haters bombed a church and killed innocent children.
Last night a twenty-one year old (!) -the same age as my middle son, walked into a church and was greeted warmly as a child of God. It didn’t matter that he was pale among the darker faces. They welcomed him warmly to sit and to pray. Maybe they held his hands. Maybe they smiled warmly and greeted him by introducing themselves to this young man. It’s clear they trusted him, and did just what Jesus would have done. And then this young man calmly stood up and announced he was going to kill them- because of the color of their skin. It’s unfathomable to me.
I close with a comment I wrote this morning in response to a thread on Facebook – everyone trying to figure out what motivated this kid to choose hate in the face of the love he was certainly enveloped in at Emmanuel Church last evening:
We as humans have always been our own worst enemies. Every generation has lived with extreme groups who have tried to take down others- through hate and often violence. What I see on each of the faces of those haters is pure conviction and hate.
Hate has never solved anything, but I’ve seen how hate can destroy and how love and respect can overcome hate. We must add our voices to others who chose love and tolerance over hate and violence. Only then will this world be fit to live in.