Today, I changed my little picture on Facebook – you know, the one that tells you it’s me – to put back the banner thing that says, “Staying home, saving lives”.
I did it after I read an email from Congressman Hank Johnson (D, GA-04) urging people – people in metro Atlanta – to make sanity instead of riots. Well, that’s not exactly what Hank said. This is:
“If you are reading this message, please understand that peaceful protests don’t take place at night. So if you believe in peace, and you stand for truth, righteousness and order, then stay home this evening.”
Yes, I’m staying home to stay well in the pandemic, and to help protect others as well. The pandemic, as you may not have heard, is still a huge and life-threatening issue in Georgia even though some of us think “back in business” is the answer to everything.
The riots, in the face of recent human lives taken by police officers, are a huge and life-threatening issue as well.
And, yes, I have an opinion. It’s simply this: Life matters.
They’re complicated issues, to be sure. I’m happy for my local business friends who are able to begin doing what they do again, even in different ways.
I’m really happy that The Corner Pub has wings for take-out, especially since the recent stove event at our house. And I’m grateful for all my buddies at Pine Street Market and my farmer friends for working so hard to keep many, many of us in clean, safe food during the pandemic. And to the awesome guy who helps with our garden.
And I’m grateful for all of those in Atlanta and across the U.S. with the wisdom to know that racism – while it exists – doesn’t have to determine — or undermine — our humanity.
Life really does matter. Perhaps that’s why so many of my teachers have been talking, in these days, about fear and not letting it rule our lives.
I’ve been paying particular attention because I’m a grandmother who harbors a preacher deep inside.
I can’t help but remember that it has been the times when I said the things that lived most deeply inside me – the biggest, most real things – that I felt most misunderstood.
When I spoke of peace instead of needless, futile war or of ordaining those whom God calls to ministry or of living with those who appear different as sisters and brothers, I seemed somehow to turn up trouble when I meant to build bridges.
It’s true. And it’s hard. But grandmothers are known to do hard things. I want my girls to grow up in a world where they live out of love, passion, and enthusiasm, instead of fear. And I want everybody else’s kids to learn that, too!
There are only two things I know about how to help that happen.
Show them what it looks like. And keep on speaking out.
Blogs, books, paintings… even the occasional poem or pot of soup… they’re all visions of a future where life matters and humanity means everybody who wants to participate.
Oddly enough, my biggest teachers on that last bit are the Newfoundland rescue dogs in our family who have been harshly neglected and abused and yet, somehow, love everybody. Even the guys tromping around on the roof, cutting down trees.
So, mask on, paintbrush in hand, and my girls to inspire me, I’m going to get up tomorrow and do it some more. Are you with me?
ps… Voting counts, too. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) It really does.