I just finished a little huddle with our oldest three children. I explained to them what happened in Charlottesville this past weekend. Since we don’t live all that far from Charlottesville, VA, the first unedited concern of our 7 year old was if the bad guys were going to come close to our house next. To which our 9 year old son timidly replied, “Not to be rude, Mom, but we wouldn’t get hurt because we are white.”
I’ll get to the rest of our conversation in a moment, but must pause on those words.
Because my heart is still stuck on those words. Mostly because…He is right. We are as white skinned as can be. We are as Christian as can be. We are as safe as can be when it comes to this latest group of terrorists who do not have us in their sites.
We could stay here in our home, comforted by the un-discriminated color of our family’s skin. We could stay here in our home, comforted by our (mostly) un-discriminated religious beliefs.
But we won’t.
Because our greater family, God’s family, the family that is made of all colors, cultures, beliefs and beauties, is braking apart out there. And I believe, as a whole, we are better than that. Human history need not repeat itself in the ugliest of fashions.
So I talked with our children about God’s love for all of His children. I taught my children (again) to love unconditionally and openheartedly, never allowing the color of someone’s skin or the church that they attend to determine what type of friendship could unfold if they just take a step forward and engage with love.
Our little family conversation, which initially struck fear in their young hearts, turned to one of unfiltered love. I asked them what our family would do if we looked out our windows tonight and saw a mob of people walking down the street yelling hateful things about blacks and Jews and immigrants and Muslims. Together we decided we would first stay inside our home, drop to our knees and pray. Pray for those who were being hurt and for those who were making the choice to hurt others.
Then our sweet boy, who was at first so comforted by his own safety, had fear in his face when he remembered our neighbors: “But Mom, our neighbors are black! And our other neighbor is Jewish! We need to help them! Are they safe?”
Yes, my son. They are safe. Right now, they are safe. And we love them. But if we found our neighbors in a situation where they were not safe, we would be the first to go outside and defend them. We would stand in front of our Jewish neighbors’ house and direct the hatred to turn away. Stand in front of our Ethiopian neighbors’ house and hold their hands in love and solidarity.
Love those who have been placed within the sphere of our influence, and us in theirs.
Small acts of love, goodness, and humanKINDness.
That’s what we would do.
That’s what we will do.
Because that’s the part of our human history that is worth repeating.
“Nothing carries more potential for change than individual acts of human kindness.”