I have been reading John Lewis’s memoir Walking with the Wind and could probably copy into this blog almost every passage. But this one caught my attention in light of the current situation in our country:
When I care about something, when I commit to it, I am prepared to take the long hard road, knowing it may not happen today or tomorrow, but ultimately, eventually, it will happen. That’s what faith is all about…. Some battles are long and hard, and you have to have staying power. Firecrackers go off in a flash and leave nothing but ashes. I prefer a pilot light—the flame is nothing flashy, but once it is lit, it doesn’t go out. It burns steadily, and it burns forever.
This need to stay with it, to hold tight, must grow stronger in all of us, I think. Right now with the “quiet” health crisis of COVID 19 when we are not rushing out to buy essential items and finding empty shelves, and we do not see so many lines of people waiting to get into the store themselves; when we can find lots of hand sanitizers, digital thermometers, disinfectant wipes, and TOILET PAPER; these days make us relax, make us think it’s not so bad anymore. We have seen what thinking that way has gotten us. Who needs to wear a mask, right?
We apply some of that “quiet” to the issues of the protests and Black Lives Matter demonstrations, and we speak about how it will all be over soon and we can stop talking about racism. Then there is another police shooting, of a Black suspect or a police officer, and we are smacked right back into the chaos.
Many of the books I am reading now, written in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s, could have been written today in 2020. Very little has changed and very few white minds have conceded how much evil exists because of the systems in which we live, get educated, make a living, raise a family, pray and socialize.
Over the next couple of months we are going to have to dig deep inside ourselves and find out just what it is that makes living in a democracy a good thing for everyone, not just a few. It will sometimes be painful, sometimes hurtful, but if we do it for the best reasons it can only be helpful and life giving.