I am fairly certain as I write this that I will narrow my “friend” group significantly. I understand this. I can comprehend that what I am going to write will make people mad, ruffle some feathers and maybe even look at me in a different way. I get this. However, I am committed to using my voice for change. I am convinced that this is what I need to do to help EVERYONE. I am asking you to listen with an open heart. I am about to say things to bring about REAL change. I am offering a flip side to what your heart and mind are being fed.
Those of you who know me personally know that I am a teacher. I work in a district where students of many different races, ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic statuses attend. This experience gives me a perspective. All of my students fit into one of those categories. I teach special education to students who struggle with emotions and behaviors. There are many underlying reasons why students end up with me.
Here is what I know. I know that young children, ALL young children are pure of heart. I have been using this phrase to educate my fellow teachers about difficult behaviors for years. This knowledge drives me to help these children keep their innocence and find a pathway to education. It is quite frankly, the reason I am able to get up and return to work everyday, to a job where I get sworn at, spit on, kicked, punched, objects thrown at me and slapped on the regular. These are Kindergarten through Fourth grade students people!
Why am I even bringing this up you might ask? Well folks, Matt talked about something that happened the other night while driving that keeps replaying in my mind. It makes the bile in my gut well up. It increases my heart rate and pushes words into my brain.
Matt and his team were driving, in a squad riddled with bullet holes, with vile words written on the side, through a neighborhood to make sure that the residents, going about their normal lives, were not being disrupted or hurt by people who could care less about George Floyd or their community.
They drove down a street and on either side were people. One side had two men. The other a mother and her two young children. The two men gave them a one finger salute (you know which finger) as they rode past. Not a big deal. Understandable. Typical before George Floyd. However, what happened next incites anger in my soul. As they drove past the mother and her two young children, she yelled “%$#!” the police at the squad, while those two beautiful babies waved, smiled, and said “Hey policeman!”
Matt came home and shared this with me. I usually have to pry stories out of him. He is usually to spent or is so used to things that happen that he does not feel the need to share. He told me that this broke his heart. It broke mine. I hope it breaks yours.
I will not theorize on the why. What I will do is say that maybe this pure of heart is what we all really need to find in our souls. I will also say that perspective is part of this equation. I have friends talking to me about all of this, defending why they are saying or doing things. I have boiled it down to two things.
First and foremost, neutrality is only a theory. It is a horrible theory, and one designed to keep us apart. You cannot remain neutral on something. You must find it in your heart to discover what is right and pure, and sprinkle that crap everywhere.
Second, perspective taking is what this is all about. If you lack perspective or knowledge on something, then you cannot make accurate judgments. Listen to not only your perspective but those of your neighbors and for the love of all that is holy, please turn off that damn TV and listen to your soul!
Pray today that those who are pure of heart are the ones we seek to emulate. Pray that God works through them and makes this world a better place and reminds all of us what really matters. Pray for our peacemakers and those who will mourn George Floyd today. It is going to be a hard day for all. Only God can provide that peace.