Finding Faith in the Face of Fear
Fear is an ugly four letter word that seems to be enveloping our country. We live in a judgemental, sexist, racist, and dangerous world. Period. Every one of us has judged someone and been judged. Every one knows someone who has been raped. Every one of us knows someone who has experienced racism or have ourselves. While you may not feel danger that fact that over 2000 people have been victim to gun violence THIS YEAR alone in Chicago makes that reality undeniable in this country. Inequality is a sad fact of our country from races to gender to sexual preference and it is not okay. Regardless of your race or gender we truly all have so much to be fearful of. But I have a confession to make, I have had fear as a companion who follows me wherever I go for a while. For a few years I tried to ignore it but inevitably it washes over you like the wave you didn't see coming. Many of my friends are feeling that in the last few days and my heart goes out to you. What I know is that you have to find a way to deal with the fear. Just like parenting there is no one way to deal with the fear. I choose to acknowledge, and make at least a truce with it.
This wave of fear has been magnified in the recent years with the media and specifically in regards to police officers. There are bad cops, don't get me wrong. There are cops that abuse their power, cops that break the law, and cops that are racist. There are bad apples in every profession, yes, but not all professions require you take an oath or have a code of ethics. It is not and should not be for the faint of heart. We live in a world of instant gratification meaning that we want issues resolved instantly in the way in which we think is appropriate. It is not that we're bad people but when something seems black & white it must be, and often we are impatient for all the facts. The problem with the majority of these controversial cases in the media is that they end up with the officers being cleared and not just cleared but the majority are cleared by grand juries. This means that when the grand jury, composed of citizens of all races and genders from the community, hears all the evidence, they find the actions of the officers justifiable. But by then it's too late. The court of public opinion has ruled the incident as murder by police, recently fueled only by racism. This then spawns outrage and police being murdered in "revenge". Dallas was not the first and it will not be the last.
So how do I deal with the fear? How does it not make me curl into a ball and beg my husband to quit his job? How do I have open discussions when I know racism exists but know that the majority of Law Enforcement Officers aren't racist and are trying to protect and serve? Faith. It seems simple and naive but for me it is that clear. Fear and hate create no solutions to any problem. They either fuel the problem or create more problems. We all seem to know that violence never brings peace but somehow it still continues to happen. Faith gives hope in a positive direction and there is so much of it if we just look.
I have faith that God has a plan for our country. That we have seen darker days and that we always prevail. That we can overcome the insatiability and calmly listen and respect each other to find solutions. I have faith in the friends and family who reached out to me and wrote honest and respectful messages, even if we don't entirely agree.
I have faith that God has a plan for my husband and even if it isn't to make it home, it matters. I do cry and I do have thoughts that if he wasn't a cop maybe it wouldn't be so hard or personal, but these are not thoughts that can solve anything. My message to my husband last night knowing he'd be putting on that uniform today was I love you, be safe, and do what you have to do. He swore and oath to fulfill a dream he had of being a cop and he is a great one. He sees the darkest most depraved and heartbreaking parts of society and goes out every day to do it again. I have faith that he makes a difference.
I have faith in the beautiful face of my innocent son. I fell apart yesterday and last night. I was on the phone with my husband and sister in law sobbing but today I didn't shed a tear. It hit me this morning that our three year old doesn't have any idea how dangerous his daddy's job is or that his mixed race matters to anyone and I will do anything to preserve that innocence for him. One day it will matter, one day he will realize that being a cop is dangerous or that not being anything but completely white can work against you but not today. I was pregnant when Sandy Hook happened and I immediately questioned how selfish a decision I had made by bringing a child into this world. But there has always been darkness, we just didn't know about it as much. What if instead of using that knowledge to divide us further and cause more darkness we used it as a tool to make the world better?