As I sit here alone in my room listening to India Arie’s “Beautiful”, while enjoying the rain and grey sky, I find it fitting to write about my life…in the grey.
I want to go to place where I am nothing and everything
That exists between here and nowhere
I want to got to a place where time has no consequence and oh yeah
The sky opens to my prayers – India Arie, “Beautiful”
The grey is a tough place to be. That black and white life that I used to inhabit was actually a pretty comfortable place. It was was very me vs. them, right vs. wrong, no matter the situation. I had a cut and dry no nonsense type of mentality. Over the years I have learned that my heart was pretty hard and I lacked a tremendous amount of knowledge. I most definitely was not an independent thinker.
I was the first to say “embrace relationship (with Jesus), reject religion”, yet religion still had me bound. It had me so fixated on looking right, living right, giving no appearance of the mess that I really was. I was one way in the public eye but quite another behind closed doors. Over the years my faith has been tested on a massive level. Spiritual warfare is real. A few years ago I was brought to the very edge of losing it all. But something happened. I was reminded of God’s faithfulness. This changed my life. Now I know what it truly means to “embrace relationship, reject religion”. I see the word of God through a new lens. I no longer see black and white ink. I see a God who walked among the broken and was the perfect example of compassion and empathy. Where black and white ends at salvation and grey begins at living life in a fallen world.
The example was right in front of me all these years but I was so focused on being right that I did not take in to account the human condition. We are all a mess! Every single one of us. The Lord knows this, which is why He gives us examples of His mercy and His grace throughout His word. He knows we are complex individuals which is why the relationship is so vital. Imagine a world where we loved as He loved His disciples time and time again. They walked with Him and yet some rejected Him, doubted Him and were flat out cowards even upon His death. But you know what? He loved them with a love I will never fully comprehend.
I want to go to a place where I am suspended in ecstasy
Some where between dark and light
Where wrong becomes right – India Arie “Beautiful”
How do we go about cultivating relationships with each other that lead to reconciliation?
How do we find the bridge between polarizing topics and reconcile them?
Step into the grey
In the grey you will see the person behind the policy.
In the grey you will feel what they feel.
In the grey you see the layers, and work to peel them back.
In the grey it hurts because it’s not about you, but about everyone else.
In the grey you become compelled to seek justice and believe it can be done righteously.
In the grey you see Christ in a whole different light.
In the grey you deeply desire to build bridges and tear down walls.
In the grey compassion and empathy drive you.
In the grey you learn to lament.
In the grey you don’t quite fit in.
In the grey transparency is vital.
In the grey you seek consistency…..
Living in the grey can be challenging because in your attempt to comfort the disturbed, you also disturb the comfortable. People don’t like that. They hate being uncomfortable. They don’t like the nice little bubble they live in poked and prodded. But in our mind we aren’t poking and prodding for nothing. We are simply trying to get people to look beyond their perspective. To step into the grey.
Shades of grey
The grey that I live in is formed by my experiences as a black woman, mother and wife who is still trying to figure out her identity. Decolonizing my mind from a particular standard of beauty, thought and action all while embracing a hidden history, stripped culture and new perspective.
This separates me from my white counterparts living in the grey.
The grey I’m in has it’s challenges because in an attempt to be a bridge and bring about racial reconciliation, healing and truth I’m are also faced with the brutal truth behind white supremacy and the mess that it has created within society’s structures. The grey helps us to see how things intersect and it’s heartbreaking. It takes every ounce of grace from the Most High not to give every descendant from the oppressor a big fat F U.
I understand why some of my beautiful melanin rich brothers and sisters turn their backs on even the white ally. Because some, still refuse to just listen to the black voice.
Our voice is still silenced, questioned and ridiculed. Our experiences are not taken seriously and in the end #whitefragility is the biggest hurdle. If only those who live in a constant state of fragility at the mere mention of white supremacy would stop, listen and understand that they are contributing to the problem by refusing to comprehend that what we are dealing with is systemic. We’ve all been infected. It’s not a surface wound, it’s in the blood. White supremacy (the disease) has affected EVERYTHING. The descendants of the oppressors were gifted with privilege. Imagine what would happen if that privilege was acknowledge and used for good. All of us have some form of privilege and reconciliation can be determined by what we do with that privilege.
One thing I know about my ancestors is that they were and we are a resilient people. We have no time to be fragile. There is much for everyone to learn from POC and the immigrant.
Please understand that it’s not that I don’t care
But right now these wall are closing in on me
I love you more than I love life itself
But I need to find a place were I can breathe
I can breathe
I want to go to a place were I can hold the intangible
And let go of the pain with all my might – India Arie, “Beautiful”
I will end with this. The potential for beauty is there if we can all take off the shades that blind us to other people’s pain. When I say all, I mean it. All people across racial, religious, socio-economic and gender lines. Let’s begin to see each other, rather than discuss each other. When we step into the grey we see humanity. It comes with a tremendous amount of pain but the pain is much like a mother in labor, it has purpose. It makes us more compassionate and, in the end more like Christ whether you choose to believe He exists or not. It will make you want to stop and retreat back to your bubble (trust me) but you can’t. Once you’ve entered the grey there is no turning back, no matter how hard it may be the truth compels us. Pull out your inner woman and push through, for the results are nothing short of…beautiful.
What comes to mind when you think of 2016? Is it the Presidential election, Black Lives Matter, Planned Parenthood, senseless deaths….Haiti? Is it social media, bathroom rights, Cosby, Kanye, The Kardashians, and Katherine Jenner? How about mommy wars, breastfeed shaming(to cover or not to cover), GMO’s, Vaccines and all those holistic dr. deaths being suspect. What about police brutality, riots, Dallas, the New Jim Crow, Flint and …the wall.
I know, I know, some of you are probably thinking….damn.
Some of you are probably wanting to stop reading right now, but wait.
I know that this year has bene rough to say the least. I personally left tha book(you know what I mean) right before the election. I needed to. As much as I wanted to change the world for my children the world was wrecking me.
I’m an empath. Google it….With that said this year has been a tough one.
I initially thought that this blog entry would be about how amazing 2016 had been. Because when it’s all said and done there is a laundry list of things that I am so thankful for. It’s been a whirlwind but a good one. The tough times have brought me to a place of self reflection and healing.
The thing is…I want to encourage you. Instead of marinating on the brutality of this past year or wishing for it to be over I want you to close your eyes for a while and peel back all the thick layers of hurt and pain until you come to something…beautiful.
Peel it off…
keep on going…
Have you found it?
Now once you’ve found it I want you to reflect on it. Go deep. See if anyone else could have possibly been affected in a positive light. After that I want you to go searching for more. It should get easier. Pretty soon you just may be focused solely on just how amazing 2016 has been. Notice I didn’t say “was”. Because 2016 is not over. You still have a few more days to make incredible memories.
Can I share something beautiful with you?
In Oct. I found myself on the verge of a mental breakdown. My husband and I were not speaking each others love language, I was overwhelmed being at home all day with three kids under five. I was always tired, I missed being fit and dancing like I use to, I was sad. Sad because my family life is not how I imagined it would be. Sad because of all the tragedy in the word and my eyes being opened to oppression and institutional racism. People of color feeling hopeless and babies dying in the womb because women feel they have no way out and a government that keeps people trapped into an oppressive mindset and way of life. I could go on and on at the things that were plaguing my mind but let me get to the good stuff.
The good stuff is that I know for sure that I needed help. I’ve suffered with depression on and off for years. And post partum depression can develop anywhere from a few weeks to a year after delivery. Is it possible that if you have your babies every 2-2.5 yrs like me, that you never fully kick it? Maybe, all I know is that with a little help from some natural supplements(I’m not talking about the ganja 😉 Although, that stuff has some amazing properties if you can get it legally(obey the laws of the land ya’ll).
Anyways supplements helped me and dare I say it(to all my agnostic and heathen friends, don’t tune me out) Jesus. I’m serious ya’ll. If there is one thing that has remained constant in my life it is Christ. The one that saved me. The one that listens even when I may not feel He is. The one that keeps me going. The one that I will always and forever give glory to. I’ve joined a local BSF where we study the Word. Not devotional, no….BIBLE STUDY. It’s been amazing. But most importantly, my relationship with God is growing. I’m grounded or shall I say rooted.
I encourage you to give up the desire to be “tha man or woman” and lay your burdens at the cross. Just lay it out. Everything……then wait. Wait for His direction and be prepared for whatever that is. Sometimes it is in line with what you want and then sometimes it reminds you that your desires aren’t His desires. People often misquote Psalm 37:4
“Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
They usually take out the first part of that sentence and say “Girl you know God will give you the desires of your heart”…………..WRONG……but right. Who or what do you delight in? If you aren’t delighting in the Lord then……marinate on that for a minute.
My husband teaches our children this saying. “I am what I am by the grace of God, by the grace of God”. Now repeat that. Rap that piece. Add a little shoulder bounce and beat to it. I’m here to remind you that “You are what you are by the grace of God, by the Grace of God”.
So if you don’t take away anything from this year, take away that…and carry it into the new year.
Romans Road – Romans 3:23, 3:10, 5:12, 6:23, 5:8, 10:9-10, 10:13, 10:17
As many of you know, I am an advocate. An advocate for women, babies, black lives and above all I am unashamed of The Christ that I follow.
With that said I have taken a step back and observed. I have observed the media highlight what they wish in order to stir up specific responses from people, and it has worked. But let us not minimize the response.
No matter the motive the reaction is real. The racism is real, the shootings are real, the murders are real, the loss of life is real, the fear is real, the good cop is real, the bad cop is real, the black man, woman, boy guilty or not is real, marginalized people are real, institutional racism is real, the families affected are real, residential segregation aka “redlining” is real, the history of black and white people is real, segregation is real, slavery is real, Jim crow is real, lynching is real, black wallstreet is real, Selma is real, white supremacy is real, the preschool to prison pipeline is real, abortion is real, the devastating infant and maternal mortality rates for women and babies of color is real, gentrification is real, white privilege is real, the “elite” is real, classism is real, sexism is real, prejudice is real, color is real, a stripped culture is real, poverty is real, colorism is real, corrupt systems are real, people….flesh and blood, hearts pumping and brains in overdrive are real, THE PAIN IS REAL, THE HURT IS REAL……..
Does this list make you angry because you feel a finger is being pointed at you? If it does then I urge you to seek prayer for clarity, understanding, empathy and compassion. Because when it’s all said and done…..it’s not about you, it’s about someone else’s pain. When you fail to see how you can be part of the healing process and live out Romans 12: 15 “Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn”, you then become part of the problem.
A sweet friend of mine wrote a blog recently and something stuck out to me. I mean, it pierced my heart and made me deeply desire everyone in this world to see and apply it to their lives.
Feel before you act.
Is it possible for us to do this? Is it possible for us to take off the layers of defensiveness and just feel someone else’s pain?
For my brothers and sisters out there who’s heart’s have hardened due to the the current racial climate, I want to remind you of something. Just as all the things listed above are very real today and I understand your heart is so weary with the reality that there is a thin line between love and hate. Please know that there is one more thing that is also very very real …..Jesus. Jesus is real.
As many will lead you to believe, He is not just the “white mans God”. I urge you to go to the feet of our Father and lay your pain at the throne. Lay it out and seek Him for ways to lead you on to a path of making a radical impact in your community. This division you see is the enemy working overtime. He sees you are hurting and will use that to inflict hurt even among our ally’s. Let’s allow the Lord to lead us well. Allow Him to use you to bring about racial reconciliation. It starts with us. The church. #therealchurch #wakeupchurch
Hurt people, hurt people. But only Christ can bring true healing.