It’s time for Five Minute Friday again, where a bunch of amazing writers and bloggers file up behind our daring leader Kate and take the plunge to write about a one word prompt for five minutes. This week, Kate handed us the prompt “dear”.
And this was the first thing that came to mind. Piglet’s nervous reaction to all things big, scary, or difficult in the Winnie-the-Pooh cartoons, “Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.”
I’ve had my mind of some pretty big, scary, difficult words this week.
And they’ve been all stuck up inside me because it seems no matter which way I try to turn them and make them come out like gentle grace, they will always appear to someone like a big accusation staring down at them with lips snarling and teeth borne.
You see, I have been overcome by the hurt and pain being echoed by my black friends and the black community in the United States in recent weeks. The more I draw into their experiences and listen and hear their lament, the more I feel the Spirit calling me to enter in to that pain and into the discussion too.
I have a heard a lot of writers and social media users saying they are just listening and lamenting for now. Since I am the most unlikely person to be called to speak into this injustice, I figured that was a good plan for me too. Let me just lean in and see the pain, hear the cries, try to understand. Let me lament.
But a few conversations have taught me a thing or two this week. That often what we are calling lament is really a Piglet response to the injustice we see. It is scary. It is hard. It is towers over our level of influence in its proportions. And we run around it scattered and unsure “oh dearing” and shaking our heads at it because that seems like something. It makes us feel like we are engaging the problem. And by “we”, I totally mean me.
And then there’s the moment when you lean in to a friend’s lament as she cries on her morning commute with your wringing hands and try to make it enough, tell her you don’t what you can possibly do, but you are here, listening (AKA running around scared and nervous at the big, scary hard thing that is racial division and pain it is causing in our country)….and she calls you out.
Hard stop. Use your power of influence. Speak. Take action.
This is what she says to me.
And I feel spoken like a commission over me.
It is time to stop my oh-dearing, the pseudo-engagement that lets me stay afraid and not dig into hard, real conversations, but knit my brows tight and run circles as I oh-dear oh-dear oh-dear my way through without taking an real action, without becoming an impetus for change, without acknowledging the power of my privilege to influence others.
It is time to make like Rabbit instead. To turn and speak. Take action. Make a difference. It might mean you push a little bit on a beloved friend. It might mean some discomfort in relationships. It will definitely mean taking a stand and saying something other than “oh dear”.
But I’d much rather be a Rabbit than a Piglet when it comes to seeking justice for the oppressed in our world, in our nation, in our neighborhoods.
I’m leaning in a little differently today. I am leaning in and listening to the people who are willing to teach me how to be a Rabbit rather than encouraging me to a Piglet. This little one right here? She is the best mentor I have found yet.
This is Ashli, my friend Alisha’s daughter. Just listen. Learn. She is a Rabbit and she will teach you how to be one too.