No Place for Hate; Many Places for Love
The question of time: a time to be silent, a time to speak.
A couple friends on Facebook who are African American posted the following.
I understand, as much as I could possibly understand without walking in those shoes. (I like to write in the universal "we" because we are all so much the same, in so many ways—but in this, I don't dare speak for you.) Me: I have silently dropped friendships before when someone used the "n" word in conversation. I cannot suffer racism among my friends. I have said it a thousand times. Which is why the struggle I chronicled yesterday still smarts. I chose not to speak up when someone said something that grated against every cell in my body. A contentious voice in a crisis of injustice.
So many are saying that this is the time to publicly own what we believe; that silence = complicity. Some protest. Some write. Some make music. But: Context. Not in every context, maybe? Do we reject our friends and family because they do not believe what we do? Are we authentic if we move forward and are still kind to them, even though what they believe goes against every grain in our body—and when it even seems to go against the fundamental foundation of all of the world's major spiritual traditions? If we choose to walk in love and compassion, are we forsaking that choice if we do not speak against it at every turn?
Or do we get on our knees and search the ground for the tiny grain of love, in every conversation?
Not every moment is the right time, the right place, the right context. Surely that person on my lawn knew that this saxophone playing, cotton wearing hippie blues lover is a leftie bleeding heart, yes? Why would they say such things to me? The hippie thinker measured and weighed, decided not to cut. That day, that moment, that lawn: It was neither the place nor the time. Hippie stuck the daisy in the end of the rifle; turned the other cheek; led a Disney-esqe tour of the compound. If love cannot feed the conversation, sometimes it's best to find a different conversation it can feed. Often, I think what looks like hatred is actually fear. And I have a guess that though love cannot fight hatred, it can fight fear. It just seems that Love generally stands back with its arms crossed and watches with great patience after it has thrown a spark into the tinder of crisis. The good fight is not simple and I suspect it can't stay angry the whole time: For lasting change, it must also be thoughtful, careful, measured, open, and, god dammit, persistent. But that's not now. Now is tinder time.
Still, we're gonna need a lawn sign. Just to be clear, so next time you come, you know for sure whose hearts you're visiting, and maybe, if you are able, you'll choose your conversations carefully. And we will too. If we're not able, maybe we'll try again another time. Just know that hate does not live here and all are welcome—and we do mean all. Come on back. We still love you.