Owning my story

There are days like today when I really do not want to learn anything more.  

I gave this blog the title “Learning As I Go” because of the lessons that come to me in every part of my journey, little things and sometimes the not so little things.  Each day presents new opportunities to open my eyes and my heart, to breathe in the air, touch the face of the one I love, listen to the birds singing in the trees.  This is a platform I choose where I can share those experiences with you.  
On this particular day, I’m struggling, fighting against those things I’m learning.  There is no cozy, comfortable buzz from this one.  Just pain, anger, denial, and deep sadness.
My heart is broken. I grieve for the loss of precious lives, those who were in a place of sanctuary and trying to draw closer to each other and the Creator. I grieve for the families left behind, for the parents of the accused, for the community grasping for a hold on life.
And I grieve for every moment in my own life when I added to the hatred;  when I judged another by how they looked on the outside, when I kept silent and looked the other way.  
How can we put one foot in front of the other and keep on?  How can we, each of us, in our own small ways, fight against the hate and terror that meets us?  What will it take for us to lay down the swords and make them into plowshares? 
Brene’ Brown’s words on her blog today (http://brenebrown.com/my-blog/) tell us that we have to own our story rather than deny it.  Don’t shove our flaws under the carpet and ignore them or they will come to define us (my paraphrase).  Own it, claim responsibility for our actions, and have those important conversations.  (Please click on the link and read her article. It’s worth it.)
My story? 
I know that in small ways over the years I have contributed to the hate and prejudice.  As in those jokes I laughed at and shared, not realizing how demeaning and hateful they were. As in judging a person by their skin color and shape and orientation.  As in thinking myself to be superior and more deserving because of my all white upbringing.  
Years ago I had a boss who refused to tell jokes because he thought that they hurt the people that were made the object of what seemed like harmless fun.
His example impacted me, and I stopped sharing jokes.
Working as a licensed practical nurse for several years I learned to treat everyone equally, no matter how they looked or what they did or believed.  
I stood next to a woman (a person of an entirely different religious background) in a community choir one year as we preformed a work that commemorated the loss of lives to senseless acts of violence, like 9/11.  In that sacred time I came to see that she and I both wanted to “be peaceful” as the words to the song said.  
A veil of prejudice slipped away as we ended that work.
I do not share these things to make myself look better than anyone.  It’s just part of my story. Very important parts of my story.  
And still I have so much to learn, so many bad habits to break.
My story does not end here.  There are so many little ways that come to my attention on a day like today…reminders that I can do so much better to make this a more peaceful world.  I will always struggle to overcome some of the deeply ingrained beliefs that no longer serve to bring justice and peace to all. 
But I’m up for it. Willing to struggle.  Willing to face my own truth even if it hurts, even when I want to run and hide.
Join me, won’t you? 

5 Replies to “Owning my story”

  1. Thank you for sharing this Deb. I feel so much the way that you do!! I've grown very uncomfortable being in negative conversations with colleagues about students. It's so easy to laugh and join in, especially when I'm tired, overwhelmed, and often frustrated with the very child we're discussing. I pray for the courage to speak up on behalf of those who cannot.

  2. Ah yes, I'm with you, Deborah. It is painful to find such ignorance and hate in the world. I take it all to heart too. That struggle is part of what we are here to experience, I believe. Hopefully this tragedy will lead toward more goodness in the world somehow. Thank you for a beautiful post.

    1. Yes, Naomi! I, too, hope for more of that goodness to be revealed in this world. It's time for all of us to take a stand for what is good and just and right, to value all lives, to dissolve the barriers of prejudice, to work for peace. Maybe this little conversation will help us move toward that goal. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts.

  3. Thank you for your honesty…I know I have participated in conversations over the years that were not positive. In my journey to become more mature in my faith, I have tried to critically look at my attitudes and actions. We are bombarded by negativity in this world, but I can make a concentrated effort to avoid it.

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