The last 3 months have been the strangest I have ever lived through. I never thought in my wildest imagination that I would see the world shut down. That businesses would close their doors. That people would stay quarantined inside their homes for weeks and now months on end. That my sons and son-in-law who live in 4 different states would be working from home. That school marques would say, "School closed until further notice." That a pandemic the size of the whole world would bring the world intimately closer together.
And then, just as the world was beginning to loosen it's hold on the stringent methods it had to use to forestall the deaths of possibly millions of people, one person is brutally killed and everything is turned upside down again.
I have read many view points on the killing of the black man by the policeman and have wondered at the rioting, hate and crime that have insued. I feel the pain of those people who are so often ridiculed, persecuted and unjustly accused and slandered. I have felt embarrased and chastened by my own lack of understanding and ignorance of the racial issue. I have pondered on what I can do. Is there something that I can do to reduce the racial hatred that is consuming so many people?
I am only one person and touch only a few people's lives. My small pebble dropped in the pond only creates a small ripple. But it does create a ripple. It does move outward and who knows what other small ripples it may touch.
So what can I do?
I can teach.
My children are grown, but I have grandchildren and I can teach them to love and accept others who are different from themselves. My nephew Bradley's wife, Kailei, posted on Facebook a list of books we can read to our children. I borrowed one and read it to my grandchildren on Marco Polo today and bore my testimony that God loves all His children and made us different so we can help each other.
I can feel empathy. A biracial family I know feels sad and threatened. Wouldn't they appreciate someone recognizing their pain and hurt from past occasions and welcome a treat and note of love?
I can acknowledge another's humanness (yep, that's a word). When I fly on a plane, I notice that the seats next to black, brown, Muslim, poor, and fat people are the last seats to get taken. It is obvious that others are avoiding sitting next to them. What if I chose to sit by someone different from me and acknowledged them? What message would I be saying without saying a word?
I'm ready to look around and see what small things I can do. I'm ready to listen to the still small voice whispher what small things I can do. Because "by small and simple things are great things brought to pass." Alma 37:6
Thanks for reading,
PS I chose to read this particular book to my grandchildren because of an experience I had several years ago and again just recently. The Proudest Blue is about a young girl who begins 6th grade and wears a hijab for the first time. Several years ago when I was teaching school, a mother came up to me on the first day of school with her daughter and said this was the first day she would be wearing a hijab to school. She wanted me to talk to the class and explain a little bit about her daughter's new headwear so the children wouldn't make fun of her. I was happy to do this and happy to find out more of the reason for wearing a hijab.
And then recently, for the past 1 1/2 years I have been teaching English to women from Somalia who all wear hijabs. I have gotten to know these women and love them. I admire their desire to dress modestly and respect their beliefs.
We are all different. We are all loved by God.