Being on the brink of many transitions can produce a myriad of feelings that we do not always enjoy. Most of us desire to have one course of action that will lay out the journey of our day. Never being too high or low is usually the most desire emotional journey people seek. Yet, that hope is not always obtained. We live in a world that constantly challenges us to face the ebb and flow of life’s changes. We are faced with navigating the emotional, mental, and spiritual gymnastics that impact our living. This truth is more evident today than days gone by.
I have asked myself is it possible to be bombarded by so much dirty rhetoric without being affected. The answer is no. Every negative action or thought has a reaction. The only thing that can be determined is how we respond to it. The response….the reaction of the soul and emotions. The activities and words of others can produce a reaction that many people are not prepared to receive.
Consider for a moment the most recent wave of threats spread throughout the political spectrum. Many people will point toward the many tirades of the current occupant at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. While I do agree with the sentiment, I have learned that you can not dismiss what seeds were already planted in the hearts of people.
People did not suddenly become racist. People did not suddenly become bigoted. Many people have been holding on to the negative feelings for several years. For some people, the fear of being outed in these negative lights has dissipated. The current tone that has been set has embolden individuals to risk many personal freedoms in order to perpetuate a destructive message of supremacy and bondage.
This reactionary climate has brought me to my knees to ask the question–Where do we go from here? Is it the ballot box alone? Is it public and private improvement in civility? Is it accountability? Is it common sense? Yes.
We have to move from the tech side of human affairs to come back to human affairs. I am convinced that people have moved so far away from recognizing the uniqueness of all people that we no longer attempt to find common ground. People have become so inundated with information that we have lost the ability to examine the true realities of the human existence. People have more hiding places. Individuals lack conflict resolution skills. People are now extremely tone deaf with perfect pitch for calamity and confusion. This path is not the one that will deliver us. We must rediscover who we are and whose we are.
My pastor, Dr. Charles E. Booth, had a time in worship that was known as Moments with the Youth. Every Sunday morning, he made it a point to give us more than practical application of scripture for our lives. He made it a mission for us young African American boys and girls to be in touch with the divinity of our existence and the sanctity of our history and heritage. It was those Sunday engagements that subconsciously incited my desire to learn about history in full context.
We were challenged to learn more than a watered down version of events from the perspective of narrative controllers. We were challenged to have greater sense of self. I hear his booming voice in my head as I type this piece. (Mount Olivet youth will remember….)
Pastor: Who are you?!?
Youth: We are God’s children
Pastor: Who are you?!?
Youth: We beautiful African American children
Pastor: Young ladies, who are you?
Young Ladies: I am a beautiful African American princess!
Pastor: Young men, who are you?
Young Men: I am a beautiful African American prince!
The affirmation that we come from more than perceived stereotypes has lived with me all these years later. It is the same type of affirmation that I have instilled in my son. I no longer have to have him repeat after me. He looks me square in the eye and says, I am a strong black boy. I am a smart black boy. My son may live in a world that will attempt to say that he is less than. However, he will never lack the internal resolve of knowing that his life and destiny is beneath no one.
In the same manner, we must resolve to bring people back to a place of seeing that value that God has placed within their being. Not just feeding egos. We must find constructive ways to uplift those who have found themselves maligned, disenfranchised, and disregarded.
We can no longer continue in the constant back and forth that leads us to nowhere. We must find the deeper, valuable aspects of people and draw the best out of them. Even when individuals have made the conscious decision to lock up their God-given value behind walls of hatred and destruction, we must continue to strive toward empowering others to continue to pursue the best in all created in the Imago Dei.
We must use every tool accessible to us to make it know that the existence of people matter to God and each other. We must remove the walls that people hide behind to see what it is that we are truly up against. We must remember that the battles are fought in the flesh, but they have commenced in the spiritual realm long ago.
So if you are going to react in a manner to bring about liberation, empowerment, and civility, do the following things:
- (If you don’t vote) Change the system
- Stop theorizing and act
- Use your platform to move forward
- Get out of the pit of overthinking
- Love people
- Love God
- See the bigger picture
- Fight injustice
- Connect to your history
- Change history
- Live in the now
- Prepare for the future
- Stop complaining about what you have the power to control
- Act positively
- Reject negativity
- Do justice
- Love kindness
- Live in humility