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Step up..even if you fail

Unfortunately tragedy has befallen many parts of the world. Climate change is causing extensive damage to many parts of the world. Some places in the United States are being pounded by overwhelming hurricanes.  Other areas are experiencing horrific wildfires. Still other parts of the world are facing earthquakes, droughts, famine, and flooding.  People's homes have been destroyed. Many families and individuals have lost everything they own. It seems reasonable that citizens could look to their government for support and encouragement in the midst of these tragedies. Yet, numerous elected officials in the United States are balking at their responsibility to care for the people, all people, in this country.  It seems that providing assistance to those affected by these tragic circumstances isn't worth their while.   

If the weather catastrophes weren't enough, hate, bigotry, and racism are running rampant all across the United States.  Many of us would like to think, "That doesn't apply to me. I'm a good person. I don't judge people based on (you fill in the blank here)."  But if we are really honest with ourselves, we all have some biases and act upon them, whether we intend to or not. The problem (at least one of them) as I see it is that we as a society have forgotten one major idea--WE ARE ALL HUMAN.  This is not an us versus them scenario.  Every human breathes air.  Drinks water. Eats food.  Engages with the world around them.  Yet somehow, great swaths of the country seem to have devolved into this absurd thinking that they are superior.  It's simply not true, and it never will be.  No one person will ever be better than another simply because they exist.  

There are countless examples of this hate, bigotry, and intolerance in recent years. Just some examples include the extrajudicial slayings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Filando Castille, and Freddie Gray; the death of Heather Heyer at the counter-protest in Charlottesville; hate crimes against minority religious groups including bombings, graffiti, and shootings; the murder of 9 innocent people at a historically black church in Charleston; the vigilante shootings of undocumented immigrants in Arizona; and the list just goes on and on and on.  Only 2 days ago, a story broke about an 8 year old boy in New Hampshire who survived a lynching attempt because he happened to be biracial. 

I truly have no sufficient words to describe my absolute abhorrence and grief surrounding these heart-rending events.  I think of the ways hate has impacted the lives of my husband and I, close friends, and many others who are dear to me.  I am incredibly fearful of what my future children will face in their lives because they happen to be biracial. There is a verse in the Bible that comes to mind when I think of the many wonderful people affected by the obscene displays of hate, intolerance, and bigotry.  In Psalm 139:14, it says, "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; that I know very well."  Each individual who must face these acts of hate, discrimination, and intolerance are "fearfully and wonderfully made."  They too were created in the Divine Image.  They are beloved children of God just like you and me.  The Bible tells us many times over to "love our neighbors as ourselves."  I can't help but think that was done on purpose.  We humans can be rather dense, and clearly needed frequent reminders to love those around us--all of the people around us, not just the ones we like or agree with--but EVERY SINGLE PERSON.  

As a person of faith, I believe in the power of prayer.  Yet, I think we have too long rested on our laurels telling ourselves that we are allies to whatever group because we pray for them.  Prayer is good, but it's not enough.  It's never going to be enough.  Those of us who are disheartened by these despicable acts need to take a stand.  We need to step up our game. We need to come together to be a force for change, a force for good, a force for love.  

So today, I am stepping up.  I pledge to do more.  I know that I will falter and fail, but I will get up again.  I will continue stepping up to be a force for good in a world full of pain.  What will you do today? 


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