It seems like two days ago I was buckling my four precious kiddos into their seats in the tan minivan. This week the oldest is getting married and the youngest is graduating from high school. My sentimental feelings are wildly juxtaposed with feelings of sadness over our country’s systemic racism. Our family conversations have careened from George Floyd’s murder to decorating the wedding cake. And who the hell has time for Coronavirus right now?
My dad worked at M.D. Anderson hospital in the 1960’s. I remember asking him about racism back then. It turns out that M.D. Anderson had segregated bathrooms and water fountains in the ‘60’s. Being from the North, he was not familiar with these practices. My dad said he was reprimanded when he went into the “Black” bathroom or drank from a “colored only” water fountain. He told me, “As scientists, we thought it was ridiculous. We knew that under a microscope everyone’s blood looks the same.” Cautiously, I asked him what he did about it. I’ll never forget his answer: “I was working on my PhD. We were newly married and starting our family. Our life was so busy. I didn’t do anything about it. I was just living my life.” Sigh.
Am I really any different? I read works of black authors, support black businesses, push for diversity in my small circles of influence, but these are small gestures. And they cost me nothing. Again, deep sigh. In the midst of graduations and planning a backyard wedding, a new resolve has awakened in my heart to do better, to be more curious, more thoughtful, more honoring.
We watched the Netflix documentary 13th last night. I recommend it. If you have never heard Bryan Stevenson, check out his insightful Ted talk: “We need to talk about an Injustice” These are great starting points for discussion. We all have much listening and learning to do.
Hope came to me in a surprising way this week. With all these emotions swirling around me, of course I turned to scripture to find some insight. I looked and prayed and looked some more. Nothing stood out until I came across Psalms 127:4 “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth.” An arrow only fulfills its purpose when it is SENT. Each one of us as a child of God are sent into the world for a purpose. I have sent my children out as arrows—to fight injustice and oppression and to bring healing and light. Be a SENT one this week my friend. Create a culture of honor, love, compassion, and justice.
Go to MargaretAllen.org to buy my book, Gracious Living, Creating a culture of honor, love, and compassion. If you prefer an E version, go to Amazon or Barnes&Noble.