I’ve been watching with shock and horror of what’s been unfolding over the last number of weeks since the tragedy of George Floyd occurred, tipping over into what seems a period of reckoning. I’ve been moved and inspired by the countless messages of very smart, courageous, and influential people.
And yet, I’ve been too afraid to add my own voice to this publicly - for so many reasons. That my voice doesn’t matter. That I have nothing new or original to add, it’s all been said. That I will say the wrong thing and create an inflammatory response.
That it’s too late anyways.
And then I read Megan Markle’s statement: “The only wrong thing to say is to say nothing.”
And I decided that I could no longer be ok with myself if I didn’t add my voice to this movement. To powerfully state my support that I take responsibility for my part in this.
That I have much to learn and educate myself and my children on, and to shape my business on, and to do my part to ensure that I support the actions that will finally allow us to put racism behind us and heal as a society.
Yes, all lives matter. But I understand why we must truly stand for Black Lives Matter.
But the other thing that deeply concerns me about what I see happening in this time is the separation of people from each other, a deepening of “us versus them”.
In Covid times, I saw it first in the line at Tim Horton’s where I witnessed 2 women in their 20s verbally attacking an older couple for not maintaining their 6 foot social distancing space. An unassuming older couple who were appalled, shocked and angry and unable to defend themselves against a barrage of insults coming from these young women. While I too felt really angry and defenseless at these women, the real issue was that they were scared and felt separate from everyone else.
I see this separation everywhere. I see it in the Black Lives Matter movement. There is a history of hurt, an ocean of tears that needs to be healed here. But I also know that hate just breeds more hate.
It is so much easier to close our hearts than to keep them open - to blame rather than seek understanding, to hold resentment rather than forgive. I don’t say this tritely - I have had years of my own process of working through these things in my own life. It is hard work.
But I also know the gratitude and mercy I feel when someone is compassionate and kind to me when I’ve made a mistake. It doesn’t right the wrong. But it creates a state of grace that allows for a new choice to be made to move past the old hurt.
I believe that a single person’s actions of kindness and compassion creates a ripple effect of healing that impacts the people they interact with. I choose to be this person, to the best of my ability. If enough people choose this, can you imagine the change we can be in this world?
May our differences bring us closer together rather than tear us apart.
*artwork by our talented illustrator Allyson Payne (allysonpayne.com)