“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” Martin Luther King Jr.
I hesitated to add my voice to this movement. I was afraid that it would viewed as political, which it is not. It is simply the right thing, the ethical thing, and that is enough. I grew up mostly in the south. I went to elementary school in Louisiana when David Duke was the governor. I have been aware of the discrimination against people of color my entire life. It wasn’t until I had lunch with a dear friend that it really connected for me that the people suffering were my friends. My neighbors. My church family. My town. My country.
My friend is one of the best people I know in this world. She is patient, kind, loving, a good mother, well educated, faithful, prayerful, from a wonderful, happy family. Her children are well behaved, polite, gentle, smart, happy kids. Her husband is strong, faithful, loving, handsome, and kind. This beautiful friend met me for lunch and was describing how her neighbor treated her and her children differently. She described how this neighbor also treated another woman of color in the neighborhood differently. While I was outraged that anyone would treat this amazing family with anything less than love and dignity, it was her reaction to that broke my heart. As I sat there in shock, horrified that in this modern time, she was dealing with this, she said to me, “It’s okay, it’s just how it is.” It is not okay. It has never been okay. Ignoring this is no longer an option. It should never have been an option.
To my friends, family, neighbors, humans of color, I don’t pretend that I could ever know what it’s like to walk in your shoes but I can promise to walk beside you. You matter. You are beautiful. You don’t deserve the things that have been happening to you.
If you are in a place of privilege whether because of the color of your skin, your affluence, your influence, or your position in society, you have an obligation to stand up, speak up, help however you can. We cannot be complacent. If you think that it’s not your problem, you are the problem.
If you are unsure how you can help visit: Wit & Delight, How White People Can Be Better Allies to the Black Community or Guidelines For Being Strong White Allies or 8 Lessons From the Future of Solidarity: How White People Can Support the Movement for Black Lives, or any of the other numerous resources out there. Another great read is “Hood Feminism: Notes From the Women that a Movement Forgot” by Mikki Kendall.
During our “Coronacation”, the kids and I look for a way to help a friend, another family, a small business, or just each other at least once a week. It helps keep the focus on what we can do instead of feeling sorry for ourselves. My 16 year old loves to take fresh baked bread and coffee to her friends’ families. My 9 year old mostly likes to support local businesses (especially when it comes to Vivify Burger’s milkshakes 😉). He also enjoys writing letters to family & friends. That’s not to say that everything is always rosy or that our days aren’t sometimes difficult.
This past weekend my son was having a rough day. So we sat together in my favorite comfy chair to read a short devotional. The devotion was about a struggling family and how in the midst of lost jobs and financial strain the community came together to support them. At the end of the passage the author says “Sometimes God’s sweetest blessings are in a bag of groceries. The next time you’re at the store, grab an extra bag and fill it for a family.” When I read that part out loud I turned and told Gus that I thought that was a brilliant way we could help someone this week. And he said, “Mama, that’s what we should’ve been doing anyway.” Out of the mouths of babes, right? It is absolutely what we should be doing.
So today when I order my groceries from InstaCart I’ll let the kids choose groceries they think a family would like. We’ll fill up an extra bag with the hope that bag will be a blessing to whoever gets it. If you know someone who could use a little extra this week please let me know. We will deliver to the front porch, no questions asked. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Quarantine time (or coronacation as we call it at our house) has made it easy to lose track of the days. If you or someone you love has fallen victim to this wild time warp, here is your public service announcement: TOMORROW IS MOTHER’S DAY. Yes, tomorrow. If you’re about to be in hot water let me help you out with a few super last minute gift ideas.
Gift cards to any shop downtown or a Fredericksburg gift card good for most places downtown. Some suggestions are: Monkees, Willow, Skin Touch Therapy, Joshua Lawrence, Phosphene Studio, Agora Coffee, Hyperion Espresso, or if you can’t decide, Fredericksburg Downtown has your back.
If you’re looking for something more low-key try this recipe from King Arthur Flour to serve Mom breakfast in bed. It’s my favorite, hard to mess up, puff pancake, made in the oven, and tastes like Heaven. Trust me on this one. Pair with a cup of coffee and Mom will be impressed. Just don’t forget to do the dishes when you’re done.
To really win mom’s heart this Mother’s Day, do the Face the Foliage art project with your kids. It works with all ages (you should try one too!). You don’t even need to go to the store, just use stuff you find in your backyard or kitchen, and grab some paper and glue (or tape). If you need more inspiration check out this Instagram page. Don’t forget to follow @househomeloveva while you’re there!
These are the projects my 9 & 16 year old did on the fly today.
I grew up in a Southern Baptist home and we had a loose affiliation with church, so the idea of Lent was altogether foreign to me. I think I knew it was something that Catholics did, but I wasn’t Catholic so it didn’t really mean much. In high school I had friends who were Catholic and didn’t eat meat on Fridays during Lent. And that about concluded my education on the subject.
Fast forward many years and I married a man who grew up in the Catholic church. Attended an all boys, Catholic high school and everything. He wasn’t happy in the Catholic Church nor was I in my Baptist church so we met in the middle and starting attending a United Methodist Church. By then we were in North Carolina and had our daughter in preschool there, so it was an easy transition. We knew people there already and they knew us. Not to mention the fact that the minister was absolutely phenomenal! I learned more in the years that Dr. John Tyson pastored our little church in Swansboro than I ever had in 30 years of Sunday School.
It was there that I learned what Lent was all about. That Mardi Gras wasn’t just a parade in New Orleans, Fat Tuesday had a Biblical history, that the ashes on your forehead are made from palm leaves saved from the year before, I learned the difference between a tradition and a ritual. I even learned how to make Empty Tomb cookies.
This week I’ve been reflecting on what I’ve learned since I became a dyed in the wool Methodist, what I know about Lent, about Easter, and about what it means for me to be a Christian. I’ve often found that I end up right where I need to be for what my friend calls “a moment of clarity”. As I was thinking all of these deep thoughts yesterday (Fat Tuesday), I ended up at Starbucks, sitting next to man with an interesting story to tell.
Artie plopped down at the table next to mine and asked me if I was homeschooling my son. I told him I was. To be fair, it was probably pretty obvious since we had school books scattered everywhere. But it was just the opening he needed to tell me about his mission in life. It turns out that 1. he wasn’t crazy & 2 he is an amazing human being. Artie’s mission in life is to “Pay it forward”. He spent yesterday morning at a local high school, paying off lunch debt for seniors so they can graduate this spring. He made plans at a local elementary school to do the same for them. He also told me about how he sometimes pays for groceries for single moms at the grocery store.
Artie is an Army veteran with a Purple Heart and he’s out in the world just doing some good. Meeting him just solidified what was calling to me going into Lent. It brought into focus what I had been trying so hard to see clearly. It was the idea that I should focus on what I think Jesus calls us to do. To look at every person as if they had the face of God. What if we all walked out in the world with that view? How would it change the way I spoke to people? How would it change the way I felt about people? How will it change me?
Last Sunday my current associate pastor, Josh, talked about 1 John 4:20 If anyone says, “I love God,” but hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And we have this commandment from Him: Whoever loves God must love his brother as well.…
So this Lent I’m giving up negativity. I’m giving up preconceived notions. I’m giving up my own insecurities. For the next 40 days I want to look at every person I meet as if they had the face of God. I’m not sure where that will lead me but that’s where I’m going.
Where is Lent leading you this year?