My mood is reflected in the environment as I awaken after a disturbing phone conversation before bed last evening. Angry and bitter she turned her back on the faith of her family, the heritage that is hers as an American citizen and the opportunities that her unique situation in the community affords her. I am deeply saddened by it all.
This morning I read an except from Richard G. Lee’s book The Coming Revolution and I got a sense of the reason for some of the underlying angst. Lee writes that in early America, just before the Revolution, there was really no “country” mindset. The settlements united only after Thomas Paine got the separate clusters of disparate people to realize their shared vision. Common Sense showed the people that they were in agreement on two counts: 1) that God is king and 2) that life should be free from oppression. In a mere 52 pages, Thomas Paine explicated the hope of ALL who had come to America and articulated a vision that spawned a Revolution.
I got to thinking about that, especially after the disturbing phone conversation I had the evening before. The young woman shouted at me, “Those white men are your forefathers, not mine. They oppressed people who look like me.” When I told her we now have a Black president and in only 8 short years, whites will be in the minority in this country, she countered, “You people don’t have to worry about a thing, even if that is true, white people will still have the power. Every boss I have ever had is white. You will still have the power. I can’t even worship as I please. There is no Buddhist temple near enough to my house and I don’t have a car.” I couldn’t respond to the Buddhist rant, I was still trying to digest that she had actually called her mother “you people!”
The conversation went on and on like this for over an hour. I was undone. It hit me this morning that this is precisely the reason America cannot gets its footing. We have nothing to unite us. There is no faith in “God as our king,” nor is there a sense that this is our country, our heritage. Diversity is difficult, but in early America there were common threads within the diversity. I don’t see those common threads today. I can’t see beyond the heavy mist this morning, my Friends. Even Ghandi realized sometimes people just can’t unite and so formed Pakistan for the Muslims of predominately Hindu India. It grieved him to do so, but he could see no other way.
Ann’s words from yesterday’s post over at (in)courage echo in my head (http://www.incourage.me/2012/07/when-youre-finding-it-hard-to-be-patient.html)
Patient people dare to gratefully accept people where they are. Grateful for who they are now, appreciative of works of art not yet finished, but still deeply loved.
Patient people dare to receive the present always as a present — grace.
And wouldn’t you know I have named this year, The Year of Grace, and it is Saturday where her cell phone minutes and my cell phone minutes are free. There is no wondering what I should do.
All is grace,