Choose Love!

Blog Published: June 24, 2020
By Sister Julie Myers, OSF

I’m sitting on the porch looking out over a lake. Brother Sun is just waking up and seems eager to rise. He has a great responsibility to wake up the world, not judging whom to awake, only knowing all must be nudged by his brilliance to start the day. And for all those night shifters, he reminds them that their work is done for yet another day.

There is great peace here. Birds are singing their lil’ hearts out, fish are jumping out of the water, the breeze is dancing through the leaves of the trees, and chipmunks are doing…well, whatever it is that chipmunks do! It is peace at her finest and is a pure gift for me.

Although Brother Sun rises upon everyone, I am very aware that peace does not. Peace is a gift that we have within us. But not everyone knows how to wake it, how to give it breath and freedom and life! Just turn on the news or scroll through social media—we see tragedy and hear stories of turmoil. Pain and anger have been boiling within the human spirit for years and years and has finally erupted—a much-needed eruption in order to recover the suffocated soul.

With all the news of racism today, I am reminded of an experience I had as a young nun ministering as a PTA in a hospital. I will never forget it as it has become a golden lesson for my life. I was providing therapy for a patient who recently had a total knee replacement. He was African American. I tried to engage him in conversation during the therapy session, as well as another patient next to him (also African American). He looked at me with great disgust and then spit on me saying some explicative about being white. The other patient quickly chastised him saying, “Come on man, she didn’t do anything to you, she’s cool!” I sat in shock for a bit, wiped the saliva from my face and shirt, and literally had to grasp at everything within me to continue his therapy with reverence and respect.

This was my first experience of racial tension. As a white woman of privilege, I’ve struggled to comprehend the depth of the black person’s anger or discern the tone of their cry. Although I did not understand the depth of what happened that day in therapy, I’ve slowly come to learn that this patient wasn’t spitting saliva, but anger and pain from his own experience of oppression and racism.

The development of social media has impacted how we understand news and history. It’s no longer just the written word shared by one person’s point of view, but a real story of the truth showing racial hate. It was not until recently, as our country watched the videotapes of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Rayshard Brooks being murdered, that people of all races and colors have reached a level of enragement and reaction. Priceless lives violently ended by hate. They were someone’s brother, son, husband, father, nephew, friend. Their lives did matter!!

Black lives have been shackled by abuse, disrespect, disregard, and even their own anger because of the hate against them for centuries. Each day new reports are given of abuse and each day we hear the painful cries. These cries are no longer muffled but are waking up the Nation to the reality of needed change and justice.

Embracing our humanity, how can we start honest conversations and stop senseless hate? Love is stronger than hate! The choice is ours; we must choose love.

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