Since moving into our house almost five weeks ago, I’ve been working in our backyard to pull out the weeds that compose most of the yard. These weeds have the potential to be dangerous to dogs and we’ve already had a glimpse of the danger when Mylo got one caught in her nose and started sneezing uncontrollably.
This incident has urged me to continue being on my knees or sitting in the grass pulling each foxtail out by its roots so it won’t grow back. Although some have grown back in the areas where I have worked, there are much less than before.
Today, weed pulling got me thinking and ushered in a time of quiet while talking to Jesus about some things I’ve been pushing to the back of my mind this week because I wasn’t ready to deal with them.
I grew up in a house where some people were defined by the color of their skin while people who shared my skin color were defined by who they were- salesman, mechanic, farmer, etc.
I heard the “N” word a couple of times growing up and knew what kind of person it was describing and that the use of the word was meant to demean the person. Even though I was young, it left an impact.
In a college class, I brought up reverse-racism, trying to convince a professor and myself that it was a thing, defining it as how I felt as a white person having to consciously make an effort to not be seen as a racist. What I heard then, but didn’t understand was slavery and racism in this country has such deep roots and hurt that I have no right to worry about how I feel.
It’s been a reoccurring thought throughout my life that I could have been born in a different location, to a different family, or part of a different culture. I still don’t know why I have been allowed to live a life with minor heartaches compared to others I know.
What I do know and came to realize this week is it’s not about avoiding being a part of the problem. Rather, as a believer and follower of Christ, I should be more concerned with being a part of the solution.
These weeds in my life are uncomfortable and they have the potential to be dangerous. If I continue to allow others (including the media) to shape the way I see things (including people) versus fighting those generalizations to create my own narrative, I could be missing out on a great friendship or even a chance to see and embrace Jesus more clearly.
But more importantly than pulling the weeds I see, I need to take action against more weeds. I have to lay down new seeds and care for them so they’ll grow in place of the weeds.
There are many steps to take in order to be a part of the solution vs avoiding being the problem. I don’t pretend to know all those steps. But what I do know is that I want to do better and continue fighting against my own prejudices.
For me, I don’t want my household to be a place that defines a person by their skin color instead of who they are. Equality won’t mean that I don’t see color, because I think it needs to be more than that. It needs to include understanding of the hardships and the recognition that I don’t know exactly how those hardships have affected someone. We each have struggles, but most likely my friends of color have felt them in ways I can’t fully understand. And that’s okay. What’s not okay is discounting anyone’s struggles.
To those reading, I pray my intention speaks louder than my words. I pray you take some time today to think about those who are hurting and figure out what step you need to take today. If the next generation is going to change and do better, we have to play our part. We must be the example for the future we believe is worth fighting for.
“If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.”1 Corinthians 12:26-27 NLT