Monday, January 16, 2012

monday's memory: the one that started long before me

the little town i grew up in didn't have much diversity
and so, how this little white girl from farmland, usa
ended up with such a heart for inner city families from seemingly the other end of the spectrum
is truly God at work

but i did
i flirted with working in other much wealthier and prestigious systems
but knew for my teaching career
i would be happiest where i could pour myself into those children

i cried on my way home from work
for the first several weeks
because i could go home
to a cozy apartment on the lake
and these children?
were stuck

they didn't ask to be born into this
and yet...they were in their own way happy

i fell head over heels in love with those kids
and the next group, and the next
students joined my choir and gave me the utmost respect
who were nightmares for every other teacher in the building
they told me it was because i was different

i smiled the only time a student told me i was "racist"
because the rest of the statement was "toward white people!"
(at that point i reminded her that i too was white...
and every other student in that multi-colored beautiful classroom
burst into laughter)

i began to see Martin Luther King in a whole new light
and while so much of his dream, his vision
for equality and harmony
have been realized

so much of it has not

so here's to today
where we stop comparing other social injustices and issues
to the Civil Rights movement
because there is still much to do

most of my friends of every nation and color are in the same socioeconomic class as i am
it just so happens that most of the circles i find myself in these days
don't include the stark poverty that i immersed myself in day after day as a teacher
(and let's get this clear: i taught poor white kids too.  they are included in this
after all, MLK's message of inclusion and equality
wouldn't exclude them either.  right? :-) )

and i have to be honest
that while i know that i'm right where i'm supposed to be
i do miss being able to invest in that community

please don't hear that the other social injustices
the awful problem of homelessness that consistently tugs on my heart strings
the despicable treatment of portions of our population by people bearing the name of Christ
the abuse that spouses and children suffer at the hands of those who claim to love them most

please don't hear me say they don't matter
because they do

but a significant part of my heart is with my former students
and the families and homes they represent
what a beautiful heritage and culture of overcoming
may they truly overcome
the stigma, the poverty, the desperation

may God raise up more people who will invest and nurture these children
their parents and their grandparents
and let them know
that the dream is still alive

i'll dream that dream...
will you?