I will not be writing my regular post tonight. I took the evening to have a very long (two and a half hours) and meaningful talk with my Goddaughter, Bree, and only got off the phone a short time ago. I have known Bree since she was seven. I met her when I volunteered to tutor reading at The Boys and Girls Club of Venice. They assigned me to Bree the first day and she has been like a daughter to me ever since. She will be 30 years old this August.
Bree is African American. Color nor race has never come up in our relationship. Maybe they should have, but until now, they never seemed important in our relationship. But that was probably just from my perspective. I now sense that it was important from her perspective, but I never knew it. I didn't think to ask or bring it up.
In the past two weeks, we have had two very lengthy conversations about race, what is going on in our country currently, and other very difficult, yet meaningful topics. I don't think I will ever fully grasp what Bree has had to endure, as an African American girl living in our society. I can listen and try, but I will never truly walk in her shoes.
What I can do is listen and really hear what she is saying. She expressed how personally painful the past few weeks have been for her. She has gone out and bravely marched for the rights and dignity of all people of color. She has been open in her discussions with me and from what she tells me, with anyone else who will engage her in this important topic.
Our talks, especially the one tonight, have offered me insight and given me a lot to think about. Bree is more optimistic than I am that things can change. She is young and full of hope. I am more jaded and skeptical having watched what has happened to our country over the past four years, not to mention all the years that came before. I think we struck a good balance tonight and were able to not only talk openly about these important issues but also see and respect each other's point of view.
I have been home, quarantined with four children for three solid months. My focus has been on them and meeting their every need. This has taken every ounce of energy and every second of my time. I have not had the luxury to think on or contemplate much else, besides getting through the day and keeping my family safe and healthy.
It felt good to have an engaging conversation about this important and timely matter, with someone that I love and respect so deeply. I am grateful to Bree for her openness with me, her bravery in confronting this issue, and her openheartedness to other points of view besides her own.
Talking to Bree tonight made me realize that no matter how thinly stretched I am, I need to find time in my day to think, pray and contemplate this pivotal issue facing our country and each of us. Nothing can ever change unless each of us faces our part in this and tries to make a difference.
My first step was to write this post on my blog. It is not nearly enough, but it is a start.