This is U.S.

A Facebook post copied here for whatever God has need of. May He alone be glorified by the words and experiences He has allowed through me. I live in SE Wisconsin but my home awaits.

Updated Saturday morning:

There are thoughts that branch from this post and had me awake in prayer. I struggle with my temptation to take it down. Yet, I know I needed to offer a voice that’s trying to process what has flooded this platform. Discerning what each side is trying to promote and defend. Why? Because my heart is tied to the kids and teens I am called to serve and my heart is linked to those called to serve and protect. My heart is also linked to those trying to process on each end of the spectrum. Some have personalities driven toward mediation and moderation. This is who I have become.

I know a long post is not read by many but I appreciate responses so I can hear as well as speak. That’s when social media aids a blog post where one can easily be skewed by preaching to their choir.

I know this post is not “likeable” due to our polarized society. Even so, that is the point of what I had written— there are lot of unknowns and we will never knows in our world. From your perspective, it seems cut and dry logic. Yet from another’s place in this world, what happened prior to the snippet we saw and what will follow may not be fair. Honestly, there are hard truths to swallow on both sides of a dispute. I am learning the importance of having a safe place for dialogue. It is a rare and precious treasure to be able to sit without voices and spirits raising. Therein is our problem and what I hoped to convey. I want to learn, even if I sound naive in another persons world they know well. I do not want to release empathy to become apathetic.

Many are losing what was once comfort on their plot. Just let me… do my job, live my life… those things. But our world has been rocked and people with less comfort are trying to keep their community just and safe. I am disappointed that we aren’t building bridges from either side. It’s when these worlds collide, the times people have their worst days, that we get an armchair view to see inside.

In one recent week, three outspoken friends succumbed to something they dismissed as malarkey. Three incidents. One week. Several people involved. But not a word was spoken on this platform from which they often preach. It made me see a side that’s closer to my corner of the world. It makes me nauseous. I realize this is why the voices are crying loud. Affluent and proud. Keep things quiet. Lawyer up. Bargain with the system. Don’t let our sins and secrets out. Post the party of life but not the pain.

But in other communities, the roots are a brotherhood where you carry one another. There is guilt and shame, but it’s handled differently than we may understand. It has roots. It takes a village. As I said in a post earlier this week, ask God to show us what we need to see in the bad. When the picture seems clear but the story keeps repeating. It’s not a game cops and robbers. It’s not us and them. Hatfields and McCoys. Our communities are human people— people trying to do their jobs and people trying to live. We all have weak links in our fence. In order to become stronger, we need to help each other understand where our processes are breaking down. A peaceful resolution for either side will only come about when we deescalate and we come to the table. Peace is not to be mocked. A wise proverb (15:1) says “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” If you profess these words as truth, let’s get on our knees humbly to ask God to unveil the truths we need to see, including those ugly truths we will find in our own hearts. Luke 6:41 Romans 3:23

Following is my original post from yesterday afternoon:

You know what I love about the TV show “This is Us”? Just when you think you’ve figured out the story, drawn conclusions or made judgements about a character, they show another point in time and another perspective. It helps us understand why people do what they do and helps us understand what makes up the personality and character of an individual. One episode Kevin is a selfish jerk and the next he is tender-hearted and lovable.

THIS life we are witnessing is not a TV show. This is real life and this IS us. We all experience life in different ways. Within a household each person will be unique in the choices they make. We will never understand one another completely but will fail to bridge this gap and bring peace if we keep forming judgements– both knee-jerk reactions and deep-seeded opinions.

We have developed an insatiable need for news as it happens. We want answers to things that frighten or alarm us so we can assess our own personal comfort and risk. It takes time for all the perspectives to be evaluated. We can’t keep doing this to ourselves and expect to be mentally healthy.

I empathize for those in uniform as they try to keep on serving and keeping people safe. This world is surely putting many in question of their call to duty. Are there issues to be fixed? Yes, they are human beings for crying out loud! Support the men and women who serve with valor so they can continue to serve and protect as they should. We need them.

I empathize for friends who have a different color skin than me. At this point in time, my heart is burdened for the 24/7 reality they have experienced their entire life. These issues are not about money, work ethics, and many other things people use to defend their strong prejudice (or opinions if that softens the reality). The voices trying to stand up and speak out are being covered by evil piggybacking on their cause. Please, for the love of God, please LISTEN to your friends who don’t check the “Caucasian” box. Listen to hear rather than respond. You will never EVER know what it is like to live life in another’s shoes. But I can bet that at some point in your life you’ve been rejected, judged, or otherwise marginalized in life. Take that and multiply it by 24 then by 7 then by 365 and then by the number of years you’ve lived. Still, you will never know how weary and hopeless it is for someone other than yourself. We will never “get it” even if we have a few token black friends [or other marginalized race, gender, orientation, economic position]… anything. Nothing. We are all in need of grace, understanding, and needing someone who cares enough to listen and stand along side them. If I stand with my friends who are suffering, please don’t put my heart in a basket and kick my empathetic heart to the curb. I walked a different path than you, even if we have the same color skin on the outside. Likewise, it hurts to be judged because I’m white. But I don’t let it stop me from trying to live in peace or try to understand a little more each day, from serving others when I can. If I lose my life serving kids from the city or, yes, neglected kids from the suburbs, I would rather my life be bought for that price than getting T-boned by a train on my way to the grocery store. That’s not me saying “yeah me” it’s just pouring my heart out here. Please don’t debate issues with me. If you have an opinion about who collects checks, I won’t engage. I’ve known abuse from all walks of life. ALL. Some have common sense and opportunity but take what they can get secretly. I digress and I so did not want to digress. In as much as I wish the strong opinions would gain insight, I know in my heart some will never grow in this direction. I am simply tired of conflicts being shoved into boxes of stereotype rather than trying to see the best in others.

I am so tired of every stickin’ thing on the planet being arm-chair quarterbacked behind a keyboard. Forgive me for being someone who has been a whiner and complainer. Seriously, forgive me. I know I came from a bitter place and have had a hostile heart. Praise God for bringing people into my life to soften my heart and bring healing. Isn’t that what we all need? All around the world—

Hurting people hurt people.

Healed people help others.

Are your words hurting? Feeding this beast on social media? Or can we all agree to make social media a different climate. No matter what our stance on issues, soften our tone. Save the dialogue for personal conversations that don’t involve a keyboard. Decide which battles are yours and which need your voice. We can have an educated opinion for many things but we cannot be advocates for everything. If you are going to post an article, tell us from your heart what you read that you wanted to share.

Maybe it’s a mistake to hit ‘post’ but I’m going to because I want to have a discussion with as many people as possible about how we can start changing the world. Right here. Right now.

This is Us.

This is more than U.S.

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