Monday, January 15, 2018


Our family and our story has been written in ways that I never dreamed of or imagined.


I never dreamed of it, but Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. did, well before I was born.  He dreamed that "little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers," and because of God's grace, Dr. King's dream and so many other miraculous movings, my children reflect this hope.  It is astounding and makes me smile and breaks my heart.

Because, even as larger pieces of Dr. King's dreams have come to fruition than he ever got to witness, we still have so far to go.  If you believe that racism is no longer something that America struggles with, then you are almost certainly white.  No person of color buys into that idea.

And while our society has made strides to correct injustices, the fact remains that so many injustices are ongoing and continue to be raw, gaping wounds.  The pain is real.  The fear is still there, and rightly so.  This is NOT ancient history that we are dealing with.  The Little Rock Nine are mostly still alive.  The twins' grandmother personally knows them, because she followed closely in their footsteps and attended Central HS a few years later and is still haunted by those memories.  The stories are brutal and being carried around by a generation that is still alive and very much apart of our community.

For me to learn this, it has taken a lot of listening.  I have to hear the stories and pay attention and not discount experiences that I can't imagine.  Truly, I cannot imagine, because I have been born into such privilege just by the color of my skin.  But little by little, I am learning.  John and I read Under Our Skin last year, which I highly recommend, because it sheds even more light onto what it is like to be black in today's America.

Also, since this day is honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, here's an except from what he wrote from a jail cell in Birmingham.  (To read it in its entirety, click here)

"First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: "I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action"; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man's freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a "more convenient season." Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection."

Honestly, it is hard to know how to speak to all of this as a white woman.  I know that I do not have all the answers - nor can I see it all clearly.  I don't get to adopt black children and suddenly understand everything.  I am scared of saying the wrong thing and causing offense on either side of this issue, because I cannot grasp things perfectly.  It would be easier to stay quiet and be privately saddened by the current climate in our country.

But I am coming to understand that my silence can be part of the problem.  I will not get everything right, but I want to align myself with who I believe Jesus would align himself with: those who are oppressed, downtrodden and outcast.  When I look around, those people often have skin darker than mine, and I do not think that is a coincidence - it's a byproduct of a society that continues to work against people of color.  A society that pays lip service to equality while perpetuating segregation.  If you have to say that you are not a racist, it probably means that you are a racist, because actions speak louder than words.

So, on this Monday where we honor Dr. King, I want to honor him with my small voice.  I want to cry out for justice and open hearts and listening ears.  Obviously, this issue is now deeply personal to me, because two of my children have the most beautiful brown skin in the world.  As it stands right now, their future appears to be harder than my children with beautiful less pigmented skin.  This is not undue pessimism - this is reality.  My white privilege can only shelter them so long.

I can only hope and pray that we are all joining together to make their journey brighter and more hope-filled.  I can lift my voice to stand with my brothers and sisters and son and daughter of color.  I would love for you to join us.