I didn’t know we were at war. I saw all the casualties but never accepted that war was waging all around me…
This is not what I thought war would look like. In my mind, the battlefield was layered with sick and wounded, and men with guns hid behind trees waiting for the enemy to pass so they could launch surprise attacks.
In my mind, wars take place in foreign lands – not neighborhoods, in hostile environments – not peaceful protests, in places with cities whose names I cannot pronounce – not on in convenience stores.
And I have to raise children in a world at war, in a society at war. Black men and women are dying. Police are dying. Innocence is dying. How do I explain all of this to my children? How do I teach them to love in a society full of hate? How do I tell them to form their own opinions and live their passions and to simultaneously accept those whose opinions vastly differ from their own? That they may even have to love those people more – to overcome seemingly insurmountable differences?
I was asked to participate in a quote challenge by thehappylife101.wordpress.com. I have been invited to plenty of challenges, but I participate sparingly. However, I firmly believe that sometimes others say it better – whatever “it” is.
Today “it” is what I will teach my children
1. “Evil triumphs when good men do nothing.” (Cold Case, Season 5, Episode 1: Thrill Kill).
I saw this graffitied on a wall on an episode of cold case. The quote plays on the words of Edmund Burke.
My son needs to learn that he can lose battles simply by doing nothing. Yes, he must choose his battles carefully, but sometimes sitting idly will cause him to unwillingly support a cause completely contradictory to his own values and belief systems. Thus, he becomes the very evil he wishes to attack.
My daughter must know that words are not the only method of attack. A listening ear from a sympathetic companion, a hand on the shoulder, and a hug will at times suffice.
At times she will need to march. At times she will need to speak. At times she will need to ally herself in silence.
But when they do nothing at all, neither my son not my daughter, then and only then can they lose the battle and maybe even the war.
2. “No one makes things better by killing people who merely look like their enemies. And only one death–not an act of hate, but of love–ever brought anyone else back to life (Ephesians 2:5).” – (Enemies?, Mitch Teemley, 8 July 2016)
I recognize the voice of God when I see it in writing, and I refuse to water it down with my own elaborations. I will teach my kids to do the same.
3. “You have been assigned this mountain so you can show others it can be moved.” (Author unknown)
My favorite Bible verse is Matthew 17:20. I will tell my children story after story of how God used my mustard seed. I will demonstrate to them how to use their own mustard seeds. I will explain that they have gifts, things they thing are ordinary, that will connect them to a world that is extraordinary, to an extraordinary God. I will teach them that once they hear that still, small voice, they must answer and obey, because that voice will use them to move mountains – to do the impossible…
I am angry. Angry at an attack launched on a street corner blocks away from my family. Angry at the individual who started shooting innocent officers at a peaceful protest. Angry at the volunteer policemen for leaving a basketball game because the players took a stance. Angry at the confusion that somehow supporting the lives of certain people somehow translates into not caring about the lives of others. Angry that I must raise my children during a war. Angry because the war permeates my thoughts. And my home. And my streets.
I want to continue my musings on life and how to make the best of it, and I began to pray. Then, I got angry.
And God said, “there she is. I’ve been waiting for you to arrive.”
I, of course, was completely confused as usual.
And then, He began to revealing…
You asked how you can help – what you can do. You asked how anger solves anything.
Use your anger to show love. Love in the midst of anger. Love in the midst of hate. Love in the midst of bitterness.
I needed a voice. I need you to be my VOICE. Still and small, ordinarily extraordinary, pen to paper.
I can fix this. I can fix anything.
Teach how to use talents, to use Me, to move mountains.
Teach love in the midst of war.
I do not want to challenge anyone specifically for the “quote challenge,” but I will mention three of my favorite blogs here. Many of them incorporate quotes into their blogs already.