I am the wife of a law enforcement officer, and I have much to learn.
So much to process within my own heart.
I thought that in light of the lives lost this past week, it seemed silly to post what I was planning on posting. It seemed silly to write about how hard it is to deal with two children when there are mothers out there who will never see theirs again.
I will admit to you that I've struggled through a mix of emotions this past week- sadness, frustration, anger and confusion. I have warred within myself hard, wrestled with thoughts that are not loving and thoughts that assure my opinion is right and that I deserve to be heard. And these inner wrestlings have tumbled outside of my brain and into my words and then into the hearts of dear friends, leaving quite a bit of destruction in their wake.
I will admit I have found myself fighting to defend my husband and his profession. I have felt misunderstood. I have felt hurt and have lashed out in anger because of that hurt. A hurt that has blinded me from being able to truly see the pain of others, from truly believing the best, and from seeing what's truly important.
I am so, so sorry for this.
We try to debate and analyze and dig to find who is to blame and which are the roots that have led to such a complex issue all the while convinced that we have the correct perspective. And it gets us nowhere. I have gotten nowhere with this.
I have gotten nowhere because my shield of defensiveness and self-preservation has been firmly in my hands, placed solidly in front of me.
I'll be bold and venture to say that a lot of you are like me with similar shields up against your skin, whatever color that skin may be. I'll venture to say we all feel like we need them because we feel like there are sides to be taken and lines to be drawn. And they have been. This all feels a lot like war.
But it doesn't have to be this way. It shouldn't be this way.
We have to figure out how to not make it be this way.
I think we start by dropping our shields.
And this can feel so much worse because then we will have empty hands, and this can feel very powerless and helpless. It can feel like so much sadness and despair and guilt and shame rushing through you. It feels like being utterly at a loss for what to do.
It feels so much worse to stand with empty hands.
But I believe that if it's possible for us to tolerate the pain and confusion of standing around with our fingers twitching at our sides for a few good minutes, we will see that we are in such a better position with our hands empty.
Because the thing about empty hands is that they are free to pick up something else.
We are free to walk over to humility and love and empathy, to pick them up, to hold them firmly in our hands, to walk across to the other side and place them solidly in front of each other.
When we can do this, when we can shield each other instead of ourselves, we can see that there are perspectives and insights we never could see before. We can realize that there are things we don't understand and experiences we have never experienced. Our minds become willing to learn. We can see, regardless of what we believe to be true, that there is real pain being suffered by both the black community and the law enforcement community. We can mourn with each other, we can stand by one another, we can unite together.
And then we can at least begin to have conversations that lead to healing.
Please know that I still have much to process and learn in my own heart.
But I am desperately trying.
Here are some things that have helped fill my heart with humility and love:
- Prayer. I've prayed earnestly to God that he would help me see through His eyes, and I truly believe that He is answering that prayer in ways I didn't expect.
- Instead of generalizing the lives lost this week (police lives or black lives), I'm seeing them as individual, specific human beings with families and souls that are deeply loved and valued by God.
- These verses from the Bible:
"Enthusiasm without knowledge is no good; haste makes mistakes." -Proverbs 19:2
"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace." -Ephesians 4:2-3
"And what does the Lord require of you but to act justly, to love mercy and walk humbly with your God." -Micah 6:8
"Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins." -1 Peter 4:2
- This blog post: Your fear is killing my family: why are you supporting my white cop and not my black son? I'll be honest that it was hard for me to read parts of this without feeling really defensive, but I do believe that she speaks some good truth. We don't have to pick a side here, we can support both police and black lives.
- This video of this speech by Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings.
- Hard conversations. I think it's good for us to reason together, but don't make the mistake that I made of going into conversations armed with my own opinions, ready to blast them. Go into them willing to learn and willing to see another point of view.
It is never too late for hope, for healing, for redemption.
It's never too late to let go of hate and to fill our empty hands and hearts up with love.