heavy hearted

we've traveled through a few different states over the course of the past week. we had a great time visiting with both my extended family, and peter's extended family. we knew it'd be tiring with a lot of driving, but it was good for the soul to see so many people we love in the span of a week.

for all of those people, for that time, i am grateful.

but as i see and hear about all of the horrible deaths in this country it makes my heart really heavy. hearing about the shootings, and the unrest took me back to an adoption conference i went to last spring. i went to a session that was essentially a first-person account of what it was like for the speaker to be a different race than her adoptive parents.

it was eye-opening in many ways. but at one point i found myself crying, and the tears wouldn't stop.

you see, the spring of last year is when ferguson, mo was in the news every day because of the demonstrations there after the shooting of michael brown.

and given that the session we were in centered on race, our speaker thought it fitting to spend some time talking about race relations in this country. she shared with us a story from a conference she had recently been to when she had started the same discussion. she shared about how the people of color {as she put it} were the ones who were speaking up, and she asked why.
one white woman paused as she spoke, but said "i don't feel like i have permission to talk about race."
and a black woman stood up, and told her, "i give you permission."

that tore me up for a few different reasons, but mostly because i recognized how ignorant i am. it's not that i don't think racism exists in this country. i'm not that naive. i know it's there, but i don't notice it because it's not aimed at me. but i also don't know how to talk about it.

everything has become so p.c.

i don't know if i'm allowed to ask questions to try to understand. i certainly don't feel like i can ask real, honest questions because being real and honest is generally not p.c.

but we need that space. we need space to have real, honest discourse. not debate. not argument. but real honest q&a discourse to understand what our brothers & sisters are going through.

we are all created in God's image.
all created in God's image.
regardless of race.

but that's not all that's packed up in these super-charged events.

because every one of us is also broken. none of us are perfect. and that brokenness plays out in various ways.

{via pinterest}

on top of seeing and knowing that there is definitely major racism and there are major racial divides in this country the police are at the center of this issue right now. i know there are many problems that need to be fixed. there are a lot of prejudices that only seem to go skin deep.

and yet i know the police cannot be lumped into a group and stereotyped any more than any other group.

my dad is a retired police officer. and i have so much respect for those civil servants who risk their lives to protect others day in and day out.

that's not to say that there aren't dirty cops out there, or that there's nowhere in the country where race plays a large part in how the police conduct their business. saying that would be the equivalent naïveté of saying racism doesn't exist.

we have to stop thinking about this as an all or nothing. saying there are dirty cops out there doesn't mean that a ton of police officers out there aren't risking their lives for the good of those they are protecting. it doesn't mean that most cops aren't selfless in their work, and worthy of our thanks and admiration.

but there is still a problem.

i also sit here as a parent of two kids. i sit here as a parent wanting to adopt another child. and we have always said that we are completely open to adopting a child of a different race, culture, ethnicity, etc.

and i think - if we end up having a black son one day will i need to advise him to behave differently than my white son in the same situation?

i think - do we have enough education about the stereotypes of what it's like to grow up black in america to raise a black child?

these are the things on my mind and on my heart as of late. we need space to talk openly and candidly about what we don't know and don't understand, and in that same space to try to understand. to keep asking questions until we understand as best we can.

we all have different perspectives. but we need to stop pretending that we're not ignorant of other perspectives. we need to try to understand each other by having open and candid conversations. none of us will do this perfectly, but that's not an excuse not to try.

do you know of spaces and places out there where this type of conversation happens? i'd love to hear about them.


p.s. i haven't listened to this yet, but it's on my list for the day. it is a discussion about race and the church put together by north point in atlanta. it was recommended by a friend of mine, and i hope that it is as enlightening for me as it was for her. from what i've heard it gets at some of the things that i've been wondering about here.
have a listen if you'd like.


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