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Image by Morgan Harper Nichols. ALT TEXT: light pink rectangle with pink and blue flower and white reading that reads: “and maybe I will still grow in courage despite what I fear.”

“Not everything will heal quickly,”

A few weeks ago, I had just finished telling my therapist about grieving in the age of Trump, and how grief has impacted my own journey as I continue to lean into my own racial consciousness (and in turn, lean out of harmful relationships), when she said these words (among others) to me.

Not everything will heal quickly.

What does it look like to heal during this time? Especially, what does it look like to heal when the act of truth-telling about our relationships often means committing one of the biggest American “family value” (if you will) taboos: revealing what happens in our personal homes.

What happens when you can’t/don’t/won’t speak truthfully about the harm in your home?

What happens when you can’t/don’t/won’t speak truthfully about the racists in your home?

What happens when you can’t/don’t/won’t speak truthfully?

Over the past few years (and really, it has been happening throughout history), I have watched courageous, wise, and bold prophets of the extra melaninated variety demanding racial justice across fields and demanding answers to hard, critical questions:

  • Adoption reform –what happens when a transracial adoptee is placed in a racist family – are there protocols?
  • Police reform- what happens when a racist cop responds to a Black woman having a mental health episode – are there protocols?
  • Church reform – what happens when there are racist pastors providing care to congregants? Are there protocols?
  • Government reform – what happens when you have a nation that has historically passed policies and legislation which systematically bars minorities access to services? Are there protocols?

I have seen transracial adoptees (TRAs) demand justice in their family systems. I have heard people of every complexion saying variants of: Stop. Racism is not welcome here.

And, I have watched family’s splinter. Friendships dissolve. Hearts break.

My own heart break. & splintering experiences of my own in familial circles.

Maybe you can relate.

Learning how to navigate relationships -especially ones that seem to call into question morals rather than difference of opinions – is deeply complicated, painful, and difficult.

Not everything will heal quickly.

John Pavlovitz recently wrote a blog entry entitled “This Presidency is Killing Relationships – and We’re All Grieving.”

To be honest, while I do believe that 45’s presidential term has emboldened racism in ways that white liberal America was not conscious of during Obama’ terms, I believe that relying only on this limited framework for racism is dangerous and disingenuous. It denies the opportunity to critically consider America’s storied and complex history of race, and it systematically limits the voice and work of those whom have been calling for reparations and racial and social justice for centuries, because it ultimately refuses to look at or consider the racism which has permeated our country since its inceptions. When we can’t look at what has been done – all of it – we can’t even begin to fix, correct, or work through it.

Not everything will heal quickly.

Here’s my itchy question: how do we tell the truth about what has happened here? Is it important to? This blog is called the Ebenezer project because I think that God calls us to name those critical moments in our life where we can look back and think – Look! There was God. I wonder if this is such a time. Look! Here is God in our sacred brokenness. Look! That was difficult, hard and heartbreaking and God showed up. Look! God carried me and I never thought I would make it.

As John alluded in his post, for as much as I may pray for those that have said racist things to me, I am sure that they are also praying for me.

How do we tell the truth about the pain that has happened here? What could that look like?

A practice which I have started implementing into my own spiritual practice is the practice of Abolition and the idea of freedom dreaming. Here are some of the questions it has pushed me to consider:

  • How can I freedom dream about what relationships could look like?
  • How can I freedom dream about what painful relationships could transform into?
  • Do I have the courage to name what is and be open to what could be?
  • Do I have the courage to trust that I may or may not find what I need (relationally with friends or family) but that this fear will not deter my steadfast commitment to this journey.

Not everything will heal quickly.

We are built to do hard things.

We can do hard things with mercy.

We can be gentle with ourselves on the journey.

We can hold our own hypocrisies with grace.

A song that has been on my heart throughout this pandemic has been “No Weapon” by Fred Hammond (it is a gendered song). I love the powerful reminder of this song. It does not say that weapons won’t be formed – just that they won’t work or prosper, and that no matter what, God will remain faithful.

 Upward & Onward

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