Please don’t turn Juneteenth into a guilt trip
Many responses have followed the generous action taken by Pres. Joe Biden.
Juneteenth is an appropriate move by our government to appraise one of the turning points in the history of our country’s troubled waters and of the inability to find agreeable grounds for people to just plain get along. Certainly to mark June 19, following 154 years since slavery was officially called to a halt, is appropriate. Work is still being done to conclude the evil of human injustice. We can be thankful!
An author I cannot identify has written what I suggest we embrace as an analogy or parable: “I’d rather think about those lovely little hummingbirds that grace our patio throughout the day, darting in to take a quick, though sometimes lingering, drink of nectar from the feeder that hangs just a few feet from where we sit each evening to help the day do its endings. Lovely little creatures, each a work of majesty, each a miracle.”
Believing that this story relates to some of the stories in the Bible’s New Testament, I connect it with Matthew 19:16-19: “A man came to Jesus and asked, ‘Teacher, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?’ Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you ask me about what is good? Only God is good. If you want to have eternal life, you must obey His commandments.’”
We may agree that, according to our individual conscience, we create a world that is peaceful, just, fair, workable, and grantw civil rights to each person.
Before enumerating the changes in our human relationship that still needs disciplined attention, a reminder is in order. Unless we see the multitude of accomplishments done by compassionate persons in institutions, we only play a blame game. Listening to the voices that say “why did it take so long? — and we are still waiting?”
An ugly habit would be to just blame what one may call the perpetrators. Who are they? What can impoverish a willingness to keep working for that moral footing is to digest emotions of guilt.
A transition must be born. Ever hear of it? “Born again!”
It’s now more than ever needed to go beyond the spiritual realm. In fact, we are now asked to expand the “spiritual realm!” A reborn soul is incomplete that lacks a vision for the secular order.
My internal conversations, observations, and reading many comments about Juneteenth is a new exposure of the harm, hurt and humiliation that persons of color have suffered. Stop!
This is a time of fresh possibilities. We place those possibilities in a grave by self-pity. We only suffer more by opening up old wounds. We place historic injustice in minds meant for release and learning some new ABC’s.
The temptation I see is foolishly (and with hatred), replaying all inhumane racial history by noting that 150 years has only been an assortment of ill will, name calling, poverty, poor housing, and neglected school systems.
The story of these years has seen progress on a multitude of fronts. The whole legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and a host of others has been a witness to accomplishments that must not be denied. Who are we to blame if we want to be in a circle of non-appreciation?
A writing from the pages of the June 20, 2021 issue of the New York Times Magazine is titled, “Finding My Father,” written by Nicholas Casey.
It reads, “My Dad was a mystery to me, made even more so after he vanished when I was 7 years old. For a long time, who he was — and by extension, who I was — seemed to be a puzzle I would never solve.”
Life is a puzzle; life is a mystery; life is also a miracle. The seeds planted in our garden, if sufficiently watered, allow us to gaze upon the varied colors. People, like flowers, can bloom.
What Casey writes, “I would never solve,” is the humble attitude that will place flowers in our yard.
The existence of evil in this world is a question, “Why?” that has perplexed 1,000 minds. May you too and I relate to my question: Why are some people so mean and why deprive persons of color of their humanity? Enough questions for one day. One step in front of the other, and we can together make it better!