If you feel anger and frustration, don’t let that be diminished – maybe that is God’s image reflected through you. And when you feel a connection to someone different, someone the world tells us doesn’t deserve love, don’t dismiss it. Don’t ignore it. Love.
Acceptance. Acceptance of me. Acceptance of who I am. Of who I was created to be.
If I believe that we are each made equally. If I believe that we are each made in the image of God. Then I must believe that this part of me. This part of me that has always made me feel different. Feel misunderstood. Feel like I never could fit in. This part. This is a reflection of him. So to hate it. To want it gone. Wiped away. It’s to hate that part of who he is.
But honestly? I’ve been wanting that, praying for that often. Hoping and wishing it away.
I distinctly remember talking about equity (with much smaller words) when I was very young. Talking about “fairness” in terms of how people are treated, how people are accepted, how people are perceived. This stuff has been running through my head since I was little. I know a lot comes from being raised by immigrant parents who worked more than half the hours in a 24 hr day and ends seemed to still not meet. I know a lot comes from knowing what government cheese is, and thinking that it was a treat. I know a lot comes from English being my second language. I know a lot comes from doing every. damn. school. assignment. on my own. I know a lot comes from working at a young age and paying for everything by myself. I know a lot comes from paying my own way through college. I know a lot comes from managing bills and healthcare and all those other adults things for my family beginning at a very young age. But. I also know that this part of me is God given.
I’ve made a career-ish out of it. I’m a social worker. I’m pretty good at it too – since it’s innate, seeing and hearing and believing comes easily. It’s in Olivia already too – I can see and hear it from her. And I love it in her. But truthfully, I know it’s a burden too.
Because I cannot not see. I cannot not feel. I cannot unsee. I cannot unfeel. I cannot compartmentalize injustice and move on with my life. I feel every bit of it. I sit in it. I am overwhelmed with it. And it can become debilitating.
I see every single homeless person on every single street I travel down. I try to meet every single one of their eyes. I wonder about their life. Their childhood. Their family. Where they stay at night. If they are receiving some sort of health and mental health care. What they eat. When was their last meal. When they last showered in a private bathroom. Who pays attention to them. And for what reason. What they think of me and the girls chatting with them. I see my parents in every single elderly homeless person. I feel a personal connection to all refugees and immigrants I encounter. I feel a deep connection to ethnic minorities almost instantly.
Break my heart for what breaks yours.
This is real life for me. My heart is broken. Because I believe in a God whose heart is broken for these very same individuals. I believe in a God who suffers when we suffer. I believe in a God who created us in his image. I believe in a God who created us to be equal. So when we aren’t treated equitably, I believe it breaks his heart.
And to justify injustice BLOWS MY MIND. To pass off racism as not a real problem pisses me off. To say that refugees and “illegal” (OMG. NO HUMAN IS ILLEGAL) immigrants shouldn’t be here as if each of us documented people earned our place here is infuriating. To discount people who believe in any other religion that is not our own is detestable. To hate people solely based on who they love is abominable. And I believe that this anger I have is God given. I believe whole heartedly it is a holy anger and I am to reject oppression and work for justice and peace.
I write all this for several reasons. Because I am coming around to finally accepting this large piece of me that has ostracized me from so many communities – a lot of them Christian circles. Hopefully this giant purge will allow me a full night of sleep and I’m sure S would love to get a break from me crying about it to him (he is just the best). To encourage others who think and see and hear similarly. And to say to those who are angry. It’s ok. It’s ok to be angry. Stop telling us otherwise. Anger can be justified and it can start revolutions for good and for love. And to encourage others to be respectful. I try. I try hard to still be respectful because who knows why people think the way they do. But don’t take that respect for agreement or approval. It is neither. But I believe you are also made in his image.