Friday night I went to turn off the computer, but first I checked twitter. Horrified isn’t too strong a word for what I felt seeing the tweets and the glaring images of what was happening in Charlottesville filling my screen. I don’t know how long I sat in silence reading, watching, before I finally turned it off and went to bed with deep fear in my heart for what Saturday would bring.
Saturday was worse, so much worse, even just watching what happened from afar.
Throughout Saturday my thoughts were a jumbled mess, my heart hurt seeing the ugly of the white nationalists, white supremacists, neo-nazis, whatever they call themselves, and thinking, how, if I felt that way, how much worse must it be for people of color who’ve had to deal with this their entire life.
An ugliness that should not exist, let alone be allowed to thrive.
Sunday found me still thinking about what had happened, how such evil can exist, so to distract myself, I went to Ancestry to work on a tree. I chose my paternal tree by birth, the one I struggle with the most because I have no knowledge of any of them, at least I have my aunt on my maternal family of birth to answer questions. I focused and made head-way on a particular branch – my paternal great-great grandfather and grandmother who lived in Freedom, Maine, where my great-great grandmother was born just as the town was coming into existence at the beginning of the 1800’s.
That focusing kept my mind off the bigotry and racial hatred for awhile, but it was just a temporary reprieve.
Then I got to missing dad because just his steady quiet presence always calmed the storm inside me. He is also my measure for how one should act, so I sat for a while remembering all that he was, how emotionally and physically strong he was, how just he was, how giving he was. I’m sure dad also had his own faults, but they pale in comparison to how much he gave back to anyone who needed a hand, as a doctor, a friend, or as a stranger, and at the end of the day, people remember him as a good man.
And that’s what we all need to strive for – that when we are gone, we will be remembered as being a good person.
Being a good person means we can’t escape the bad that happens and has happened and remain silent. We can’t pretend it doesn’t exist. We can stand-up and say its wrong when we see it, that’s the right thing to do, whether we push-back in one on one conversations, or when events like this occur and we say it’s wrong.
ABM has a thoughtful post on her thoughts. Thoughts on Charlottesville and I found this post by a pastor that I thought was worth passing along The Church and Charlottesville: Our Call to Confession and Clarity
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” ― Elie Wiesel