Rules Are Made To Be Broken

Meditations in MotionI have some rules I live by.

I’m not talking big stuff here, although I do have rules for the big stuff too.

One example is that I don’t do the same marathon twice. There are a lot of wonderful, interesting races out there. I have limited time and energy. I want to sample as many different venues as possible.

Of course, rules are made to be broken.

Last year, I broke my rule by running the Marine Corps Marathon for the second time. I did it to support a friend attempting his 31st Marine Corps Marathon.

Meditations in MotionAnother rule is I never get involved in social media discussions.

I learned the hard way.

They get nasty too quickly.

Most people don’t really want to have a discussion anyway. They want to hear echos of their own views to reinforce pet prejudices and shore up shaky confidence.

I almost broke that rule one day last week.

A friend of mine had posted this beautiful, poignant essay, written by a black mother worried about her son growing up in America.

Let me see…this essay was written after Ahmaud Arbery was chased, then gunned down by white men who were alarmed because he was jogging in their neighborhood in South Georgia, after a white woman called the police to report Christian Cooper, a black man birdwatching in Central Park, when he asked her to leash her dog (at an area of the park where all dogs were supposed to be leashed), but before George Floyd was killed in police custody when between one and three police officers knelt on his neck despite repeated protests he could not breathe.

I am worried about her son too.

I am the mother of three sons, all of whom are precious to me. Of course, this mother’s son is precious to her.

Meditations in MotionMy sons, however, benefit from white privilege, while hers does not.

I’m not crazy about the term “white privilege“, even though I understand the concept and believe in its truth.

It conjures up images of my sons growing up in a mansion with butlers and maids, pampered and spoiled, when nothing could be further from the truth.

When my boys were young, especially the older two, we were poor. I mean qualifying -for-government-benefits poor.

White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been without struggles; it means those struggles weren’t brought about by the color of your skin.

How long, the author asks, before her eight-year-old son goes from being perceived as cute to being looked at as a threat?

Meditations in Motion
Photo credit

Is there any wonder that cities are now exploding, protests turning violent, and property being destroyed?

Resentment, anger, and frustration at decades, no, centuries of injustice are boiling over. Again.

The country is already brittle, suffering from the last two months of anxiety and isolation caused by the pandemic. The incident with George Floyd was the spark needed to set fire to the dry tinder already in place.

Last week, in a post where I referenced armed protestors who marched to demand the opening of the country from constraints in place due to the Coronavirus, I called for grace and understanding for those protestors.

Fear and sadness can look like anger on some people,” I said.

I’m saying it again this week in reference to a different set of protestors.

I am not condoning violence or hate in any way, but I can recall being so enraged I wanted to hurl a plate to the floor just to hear the satisfying crash of destruction.

And my rule about not getting into a discussion on Facebook?

After I read the article which so touchingly described the black mother’s concerns for her son, I read a response, which I will paraphrase here: “Meh! She seems like an angry person to me. Angry at the world.

Tears sprung to my eyes and my foot began tapping, sure signs I am seething.

I took my dog, Benji, for a walk to calm down and organize my thoughts.

I should let it go,” I thought. I have the rule about not getting into social media discussions for good reasons. Nothing beneficial could come from confronting the woman on Facebook who dismissed the writer as “angry“.

Then I had another thought: “What if by not responding, I am tacitly agreeing with this commenter?

If we don’t confront racism, are we implicitly guilty?

Righteous indignation rising, I resolved to respond to the comment, but my friend, who had originally posted the article, saved me.

By the time I returned from my walk, she had taken the offensive comments down.

A blogger I follow wrote a post last week about racial injustice. At the end of the post, he stated “I don’t know what I can do (to help)“. I think a lot of us feel that way.

What can one person do?

Fortunately, there are some ideas. Here are 75 things you can do to help combat racism.

Don’t allow hate to infiltrate your heart or your social media pages.

At the end of his letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us, “Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Live your life in search of love, promoting love, believing in love.

We need it. More than ever.

 

You can find the places I link up here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

95 comments

  1. I try not to engage in negative social media discussions also. The few times I couldn’t restrain myself, I’ve ended up regretting it. Your friend was smart to just delete the comment… she took away their platform and their power. When I see comments that are obvious attempts to elicit outrage, I hope that they are ignored. Ignoring bullies (obviously, if they are not actually harming anyone) is the best way to shut them down.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I say to myself that I have a political-free blog. I avoid sparking discussions (arguments) for the same reasons you do. The issues need to be addressed, and you did it beautifully. Thank you. We are all called to live a life of love, glorifying God.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I try to have a political-free blog too, Anne. For obvious reasons. Thank you for your comment. “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Laurie, as a person who grew up in Atlanta at the height of the Civil Rights Movement, I have never, ever thought that people should be judged or disadvantaged because of their skin color. God created us all in His image, and the amounts of shade in our outward, physical appearance make no difference. What has upset me here, and in previous instances of uncontrolled rage, looting, arson, and violence in this country, is the influence of groups, infiltrating into the crowds of peaceful protesters, to try to tear our nation down from within, setting race against race in the process, as well as biting the hands that feed them. Look at all the small businesses, already in crisis due to the Covid, who are now suffering this damage, too. How will they rebound? Will they be able to do so?
    Some of your followers may not share this sentiment, but I’m so thankful that President Trump has recognized the destructive and violent group, ANTIFA, as a domestic terrorist threat. That is the first step in calling the real enemy to account.
    May God comfort and surround George Floyd’s family, and heal this nation.
    Blessings!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree, Martha. There have been reports of armed white nationalists right here in Lancaster inciting violence in an otherwise peaceful protest. My heart goes out to small businessmen – white and black – who have lost everything to these protests. Our nation certainly does need healing and we need it soon! God help us!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Very well said Laurie!
    I was raised in a home that taught & believed all are equal no matter what the color of your skin or cultural background. I in turn raised my children in this same equality & they their’s.

    When I was a young adult I lived overseas where I was classified as one of a minority, there was prejudice against us & I came to have an understanding of what this is when the color of your skin & hair are a target for people’s discontent with their world’s. It was very unpleasant & somewhat scary.

    Racism or any isms should never be tolerated, I think of the statement by John Stuart Mill “for evil to persist it only takes good men & women to do nothing”.
    However many good men & women from all backgrounds work tirelessly against evil everyday of their lives but sadly these are not promoted by the media around the world.
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s an awful situation in the US Laurie – and it makes me even more grateful that I live in Australia – we’re nowhere near perfect, but there is less simmering anger and less rage and less guns. We’re seeing it all plastered on our newspapers and the ugliness hurts my heart. I don’t think SM is ever the right platform for these discussions and I even get annoyed at celebrities buying into with their 2 cents’ worth – they have no idea and even if they do, stoking the fires on SM isn’t the way to help. I hope this situation is resolved soon and that justice is served and the people feel heard. x

    Liked by 1 person

    • Leanne, it makes me wonder what in the world happened to my country. I hope the situation is resolved soon but it doesn’t seem like a resolution is near.

      Like

  6. I like that you took some time-out to think about it. A walk with the dog to think things over.
    You are right, sometimes it’s difficult NOT to engage, as our silence would look like an agreement.
    Let’s hope that more people see the need for love and compassion.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thought-provoking post. These are truly troubling times in our country. While I don’t care for the term white privilege, I understand the concept and believe the reality. You have done a great job of describing it. When humans act inhumanely to someone because of their physical characteristics, we all suffer. Thank you for addressing this disturbing situation in your post.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Laurie,
    You are more brave than me. I have steered away from all things political in social media and blogging because even one thing written, with the best of intentions, can be taken the wrong way or interpreted incorrectly. I choose to speak up to God vs. speak out. Oh, how our world needs healing and it’s only going to come from one source. Then it’s up to us to love as we were first loved. Maybe that’s too simplistic, but aggravated times need a return to the basics of our faith. I liked the “75” things post.
    Blessings,
    Bev xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bev, to tell you the truth, I lay awake last night worrying about the response I might get to this post for exactly the reasons you mentioned. Our world does need healing and love and we need it soon! I agree, we need to reflect God’s perfect love for us. Christians should be beacons of light in a dark world.

      Like

  9. So well put. I have friends with black sons too and I know they are very concerned. I have the same policy, no engaging in negative comments on social media and stay away from politics. I have seen friendships lost through social media because of this.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m not on FB and often suggest that everyone should delete it. All our lives would be better. However short of doing that I think that you’re smart to rise above the conflicts and vitriol that seems to be the essence of FB. You cannot change someone who doesn’t respect you enough to listen to you. I learned that along the way with trolls on my blog. Thus I say what I have to say in a peaceful way, block the haters, then trust all is well with my soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m like you, Laurie. I don’t like to engage in those social media threads. It can get very ugly sometimes and I’m always afraid I’ll say something I regret! But I do think we need to be standing in positive and supportive ways with those who feel and have experienced these threats. I take for granted my white privilege–my son’s white privilege. But I can totally understand that woman’s fears and feelings. I hated seeing the way those officers were arresting George Floyd. It’s clearly excessive force and for what? A counterfeit $20? Our nation is at a fevered pitch! I’ll be checking out your list for ideas on how I can respond. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and encouraging us to do better!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. As much as I hate to censor, if something is too offensive I’d just take it down and deal with the guilt. I’ve gotten sucked into those social media discussions as well and mostly stay off of Twitter because of it. There are people who live to disrupt anywhere they can. I’m sure Benji appreciates it as do many dogs I see out an about these days. I was thinking of starting a weekly post called, “Dogs In Cars Getting Walkies” but not so sure someone wouldn’t sue me (“too much like Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee”).

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree with you, Jeanna. I could deal with the guilt. I have blocked several people and websites. I don’t want hate on my feed. Everyone I follow on Twitter is a runner – we are a mostly positive bunch! 🙂 I would read that weekly post!

      Like

  13. I like what you said about white privilege. I’ve always cringed a little at the term for the same reasons–it sounded like living upstairs at Downton Abbey. But this makes sense: “White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been without struggles; it means those struggles weren’t brought about by the color of your skin.”

    I try to avoid political conversations and arguments in general online, too. Most people do just want their own views reinforced rather than considering another view. I’ve been amazed at the lack of logical thinking online and have wondered what we can possibly do to bring it back.

    My d-i-l is Indian, but is dark enough that she’s often mistaken for black. I’ve been astounded at some of the things that have been said to her, at the ways some people have looked at her. I hate to think that my grandson might be stopped and harassed or worse because of his skin tone some day.

    “Live your life in search of love, promoting love, believing in love.” Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I do not like engaging in political discussions unless I am looking at the person I am discussing them with. I actually had a sleepless night worrying about the reaction to this post. So far, people have been kind.

      2 of my 3 DILs are Hispanic. All of my grandchildren are mixed race. This is a personal worry for me too.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Hi Laurie,
    I commented yesterday but attributed a statement to CT Studd which wasn’t his (I was thinking of two things at once)!
    I’m happy for you to change or erase that comment if you want to 😀
    Blessings,
    Jennifer

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you for breaking your rule. Your post is well thought out and well spoken. I need to go back and look at the “75 Things” because I wanted to keep reading. I will do that next. I certainly share your sentiments. I have struggled similarly, a blog post or a plain FB post. People get nasty so quickly. I know that my sermon on Sunday will be about being created in God’s Image. I worry: about saying something on FB that will then block my folks from hearing me; about saying something that can be heard as critical of leaders; about not speaking up soon enough. I am near the end of the second chapter of a book titled “White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo. Required by the Missiouri UM Bishop. Thanks again for breaking your own rule and for being eloquently brave. Michele

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Like you I try to stay away from fighting with people on social media – no one is convinced, and things can very often go downhill so quickly. I try to post positive messages and support where it seems appropriate. It’s a fine line – I also don’t want to impose myself and my feelings into situations that aren’t about me.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. That was a well written post and i agree with you and glad you wasn’t able to respond it’s not worth it with some, i never get into it on social media these people are very brave behind a keyboard

    I hope it all gets sorted over there soon Laurie

    Have a safetastic week 😷😷😷

    Liked by 1 person

  18. All I can say is I don’t think anyone will ever understand our pain, our struggle, our life, what I as a black woman, what my brothers and black friends deal with 24/7. I dare say the only way to ever get it is to hire the make up artists from Mrs Doubtfire to make you (not you specifically) over into a dark skinned black woman then transport you into a major city like NY or Chicago or better yet Los Angeles for as long as you can stand it to get a taste of what this life really is. As I said in my post this week, God needs to change all of our hearts. No law of the land can make anyone love their neighbor. Even when the laws change and I’m praying they do, they will not make white people love black people. Only the Holy Spirit can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yvonne, thank you for your comment. You are right – I can’t understand the pain you go through every single day. I can give you my love and support, though. I pray the Holy Spirit fills white people with love for people of all races. May we be a better reflection of God’s love and grace.

      Like

  19. Some of the footage I have seen coming out of the US is just awful. It breaks my heart and makes me so sad that this is still an issue in 2020. Even more so given we are all in the midst of a global pandemic together. I won’t pretend that I fully understand this complicated issue but I am listening and I would like to make a difference #GlobalBlogging

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Years ago when I was active on Facebook I ended up losing a friend because of my posts related to the Standing Rock protests. We hadn’t talked in some time despite being fairly close in high school and she felt it necessary to get into an argument with me implying the police were just doing their job, etc. As much as I wanted to full out argue with her I ended up just unfriending her. My thought was if she could go so long without messaging me or posting when I posted about trivial things in life then she wasn’t a good enough friend to begin with and did not need to stir up trouble on my page.

    I am often torn between how much/how often to speak up particularly to family members. As I’m sure you know being from this area it’s not exactly the most diverse/welcoming of environments at times and too often comments about race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. tend to get written off as “just joking”. For years I kept quiet but I have started to speak up more and saying those comments are still hurtful. It’s hard because I feel like I come across as someone who is trying to act morally superior when I’m just trying to educate/get people to think more about their words.

    Thank you for having the courage to post your views!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tracy, I have FB friends whom I haven’t seen in real life for 40 years. We have very different political views. I think you did the exact right thing with your FB friend. You have to live with yourself. Why add negativity and anxiety to your life needlessly?

      Luckily, most of my family members feel the same way as I do, so there is not much friction there. I think I see more of my (real-life) friends speaking up and saying exactly what’s on their minds. I appreciate and admire that.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. I have never heard white privilege explained this way, and it made so much sense. “White privilege doesn’t mean your life hasn’t been without struggles; it means those struggles weren’t brought about by the color of your skin.” These times are situations are difficult and they are bringing up so many emotions and it is easy to pulled into them and say something we will regret. Love your advice. Love extravagantly. Because it does overcome the hate.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Laurie, I so appreciate your post. I have struggled with the most effective way to respond to the injustices and everything that’s happening in our country right now. I don’t want to stay silent. I want to begin dialoguing about this with our sons. And I’m truly grateful for the resource you’ve shared. I’m planning to read it and pray over what my next steps need to be. As others have said, thank you for breaking your rule. You’re giving me the courage to do the same.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Jeanne. My heart breaks over what is happening in our country right now. I don’t want to get too political, though. Not in this space and not on social media. I am still trying to feel my way through.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Facebook is good for some things, but for others it just a pot to stir up controversy. I have long lamented that people hide behind their profile pics to disparage others in hurtful words that they’d likely never spew in person (but who knows these days). I see what people write and vehemently argue with one another. All the time I want to jump in and correct their grammar and say “spend some time with a good grammar book and less time criticizing and demeaning others that you seem to derive so much pleasure from.” But I am hardly perfect and hardly have perfect grammar, but I sure as heck learned what is proper behavior toward others and I should not be amazed at the behavior of people anymore, but it is getting worse, not better. Sadly the stories of poor Ahmaud Arbery’s murder and the racial profiling of Christian Cooper, once media hot potatoes, are now lost to the current riots that overtaken the U.S. after the murder of George Floyd. I was not old enough to remember the Watts riots in 1965, but the news media brought that story up in Detroit’s riots in 1967. I am old enough to remember the riots after the Rodney King verdict in L.A. and tonight people are stirred up on a very hot and sultry night and those who have decided not to adhere to curfew tonight and the police are using bullhorns and tear gas to shut them down to no avail. This is about 13 miles from me. I don’t like this hate-filled society that we live in these days and we are a ship with no one at the helm to right it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda…good to hear from you. I was worried about you! Then I went on your site and saw your computer had crashed. My oldest and youngest sons get into political discussions often on FB. I couldn’t deal with the stress and anxiety. I have been really lucky with my blog. so far, most people have been very kind in their comments and I have met some really nice folks (like you!)

      My mom used to be an English teacher and was correcting my grammar and that of my friends all the time. Seeing someone use “there” for “their” makes me grate my teeth!

      I think people now have time on their hands and they are bored and anxious. Stay safe, Linda. Don’t go to where the protests are. Our local newspaper had a story about white nationalists that had incited violence at the protests in Lancaster. They are well-organized and armed.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I spent an inordinate amount of time in the yard as well and it really wore me out – I surprised myself but the last time I had a big mulch-laying project like that and such a big overgrown mess was in 2016 – yes, four years makes a difference! May was not a good month, and I had to work late Friday night and began getting behind here. My boss was going out of town all this week, and I had to work late Friday night. Then the weekend I was exhausted and nodding off by 8:00-ish after my hard work and fresh air. But we have not been really busy in a couple of months, and got an emergency matter and Robb returned from vacation today (4-5 days early) and I was on the phone with him a good part of yesterday – so much for a peaceful week.

        I had a boss once who corrected everyone’s grammar – he was a stickler for good grammar and thought nothing of overhearing a conversation and interjecting with the proper grammar and it didn’t matter if it was a secretary to a senior partner at the law firm. He corrected me on my use of “good” and “well” and to this day I find myself choosing those words carefully. The problem is we all speak and write in the vernacular, with the exception of our blogs to some extent. But my blog is often folksy, so I stray away from proper grammar sometimes. I grew up learning Oxford English in Canada and speaking very prim and proper – I was ridiculed by teachers and classmates. “There” for “their” or even reversed plus “they’re” grates on me too but I see the word “seen” instead of “saw” and that could set me off as well.

        Yes, the riots are downright scary Laurie. The Park is finally open and I am glad that is the only place I am going for the short term – no grocery stores or even to get gas, or allergy appointments. I was thinking of a trip to a larger park this weekend but I have to play it by ear – they are soggy now and we have severe weather tonight, and another raucous storm coming Friday and now that my Park is open again as of today I’ll likely stay close. The weather has become so erratic and scary – yesterday this time we enjoyed 70 degrees for a high – today it was 90 with a “real feel” of 94 and this spike is causing the severe weather and also caused the marchers in downtown Detroit to not stop at the curfew time of 8:00 a.m. but to continue and get fired up. Someone provided water and snacks to keep them from getting overheated/sick, etc. to no avail. The police had to use teargas and now 84 were carted off to jail. I am so glad I don’t work downtown anymore. Just like Lancaster I am sure, these are well-organized and not native Detroiters, but out-of-state protesters and the rest from the surburbs. You stay safe too Laurie.

        Liked by 1 person

      • My mom used to correct my friends’ grammar when I was a teenager. I used to get so embarrassed. Now I appreciate her perfection. Seen and saw would send me up the wall too.

        You certainly did have a crazy few days. I hope things have quieted down by now.

        We had some crazy storms today too but right now, it is beautiful out – mild, low humidity, and a gentle breeze. Perfect sleeping weather.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, I can see how that would bother you as a teenager Laurie. Our schools here in Lincoln Park lost their accreditation for several years, but I don’t know what the issue is now. Perhaps younger people are used to abbreviating for texting or social media and that is the reason. The “s” possessive use drives me crazy as well.

        The dew points were high today – it was really hot. It will be like this until Sunday they say.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Same here and I was not expending that much energy as I was walking. I like Summer, but we have jumped right into the Dog Days of August for goodness sake! I’m looking forward to the weekend – supposed to be beautiful and no humidity.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Poor Benji fainted in the heat yesterday. Something is wrong with him. I am going to have to take him to the vet. Poor old guy!

        Like

  24. You are right…about so much. Yes, I too am white and have never thought about ‘that privilege’ until recent years. I am tending to shy away from social media but need to add, that we here in Australia have so much to recognise in our own ‘backyards’ than to be offering sympathy and more (well-deserved, don’t get me wrong) to those in your country and elsewhere. Australia’s history with our original inhabitants, the Aboriginal people, is not good at all. So much needs to change. It must. Life is awful with these divisions made from assumptions and appearance. Stopping now. I have to. Thanks so much for linking up Laurie. I always appreciate it. Denyse

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Denyse. I think white people all over the world need to examine our actions more closely. No place more than here in the US. I just don’t understand what has happened to our country lately. Thanks also for hosting!

      Liked by 1 person

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