Understand Before Being Understood

I haven’t blogged in a bit because I needed to stay silent and try to understand.  There have been so many things happen this year in such a short period of time.  These things have all happened so far in 2020,  a presidential impeachment,  Australian bush fires, the death of Kobe Bryant,  royalty ditching their royal duties (Harry and Meghan), the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union, the summer Olympics are postponed, a worldwide pandemic occurs and George Floyd is murdered by police officers.  This is a lot to take in.

There are so many things swirling in my brain as I try to make sense and understand what is happening in my day to day life.  The news and social media are no help to any of us as the news they report or post is so slighted that it appears everyone is out for shock value or to get a rise in others.  Truth is not the purpose in these settings.

Things that seemed normal were no longer normal.  Things were moving at a beautiful pace for me and now day by day another thing impacted my life.  I don’t speak of my political opinions because those views can’t be seen in a fair light anymore.  I see others fiercely fight for what they think is right and I find it better to sit and listen.  I will say that I always lean on the side of what Jesus taught us about being kind, patient and understanding recognizing we are all children of God.  NO EXCEPTIONS!  No color, no ethnicity, no sex, no anything excludes us from being God’s child.

The first thing we must all realize is we are conditioned by our experiences.  What I mean is every single person walks a different walk.  Because of that walk, you have different opinions and views of what is right and wrong.  There are three sides to every event; what you see, what I see and what really happened.  My mind will jump to conclusions because of what I know from my walk.  I want to show you an example of the minds of two five year old white kids.

When I was five years old my family took a vacation to Charleston, South Carolina.  This was in the early ’70s when times were not very social friendly.  I walked down  the streets holding my mother’s hand as a older African American woman looked down on me and frowned with a very disturbing face.  It almost stopped me in my tracks as a mere child.  After the woman passed I said to my mom, “Why did that lady look at me like that?”  My mom’s only response was , “They don’t like us.”  What did that mean?  I carried this for about 50 years never forgetting that woman.

A few years back my husband and I were planning to take a vacation and I asked him if he would mind going to Charleston because there was so much history there.  My husband being the giving man and history buff  said he would like to go.  I never mentioned to him that I needed to go back to understand what happened on that day long, long ago.

We arrived in Charleston a few months later as planned.  We had a full itinerary of things to do and see.  As we walked one day in Charleston I was stopped dead in my tracks.  Something came over me that made me stop and take a deep breath.  I had a flash back to the day in the ’70s.  I turned around and my husband and I were standing in front of the Old Slave Mart Museum.  This was no coincidence.  This was God helping me understand.

http://www.oldslavemartmuseum.com/

Please take a moment to look at this website.

God stopped me there to go into that particular museum. My husband and I walked through the museum, looked at every picture and artifact.  We read each placard telling the history of the slave markets and the selling of humans. Recounting how families were broken up and sold by worth.  It told when a slave ran from the plantation owner (master), that the slave would be hunted down and beaten for trying to have a better existence. I cried when I more understood that this group human beings were not treated as humans but as objects because of the color of their skin.  It still sickens me as I write this blog.  I will never fully understand the pain and injustice they felt.

Later that evening I told my husband why I wanted to come to Charleston and my almost 50 year old memory.  I explained to him how I wanted to be better by attempting to understand that woman’s hatred towards me.  I felt that if I returned to Charleston there may be something there that would piece things together for me.  I knew about segregation but there was something deeper eating at me about this experience.  He then told me a story.

My husband was raised in Nashville in an affluent family.  He was the last child and much younger than his brother and sisters so he was home while his siblings attended school.  He told me that when he was five years old as a white child his family had an African American maid named Hattie. This would have been in the late ’60s. He told me that he didn’t remember much about her but what he did remember was that she was kind to him and smiled a lot.  She was a part of their family to him.  He hadn’t experienced the same experience I had a five on that hot summer day in Charleston. He has a sweet childhood memory.  Two separate stories from two separate five year olds.  They are night and day opposite from each other.  I felt God so strongly as my husband spoke and told his story.  God was showing me to never judge by my experience but to be open to hear what others have experienced.

There are so many hot topics today that inflame and ignite people.  I would ask you to please know that your experiences are only one view of the world and the people in it.  Jesus taught us to listen and to heal others.  He never taught us to force our ideas onto others but to be gentle.

1 Corinthians 1:10,

 “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”

My love and God’s blessings for each of you. LoLo

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