Charlottesville, VA-The Aftermath
So I have a follow-up to a post I wrote recently. The purpose is to hopefully shed a light on what has happened in the past week, and to give you my personal perspective. Maybe I can learn something for myself, and hopefully someone can learn from my experience.
I originally posted on Tuesday, August 15, 2017. In that original post, I spoke my feelings surrounding an issue that plagued my heart. I wrote about Charlottesville, and how it made me feel. I wrote the post realizing that not everyone who would read it would agree, and more importantly, this post would start a conversation about race in this country. I wrote the post to strike a nerve. A nerve in the hearts of those who have those evil thoughts, a nerve in those who were hurt by those thoughts and actions, and a nerve in our culture as a whole. The tone of my post was not something that I can apologize for. There was intent behind it.
The aftermath of the posting has been interesting, to say the least. In my post, I referenced a specific incident where someone white said something to me that offended me. The purpose of the example was to prove what happens when people don’t take the the time to get to know each other. Here is the excerpt:
“Like when I came on staff, there was an issue with when I was getting my pay. In curiosity, I asked a gentleman who is over the pay about it (He's old, and white). I got the run around, and it was a stressful thing. I finally got a check, but it was after I had been there for 3 weeks (1 doesn't equal 3). So I went back, inquiring if I would get paid for the other weeks. My respectful question was met with a snarky response, and some comment about it not being about the money. Now it could have just been his humor. Maybe he is a stand up guy. That’s what my heart wants. My head says “here it is again”. Disconnect. I feel like no one knows me, and I am on an island sometimes. Being that, I takes things the wrong way. Maybe I am wrong. I am a working progress. However, I think it goes both ways to make sure there is no disconnection.”
I was called the day after, and told that I needed to meet with the pastors of the church I served at about the post. We spoke on Wednesday night, and I was told that I needed to take the post down. I did not, but I offered to edit the post to make sure that what I was trying to get across would be better understood. Understanding. I tried to make sure that my heart was in the post. The post hurt, this country is hurting, and there is no way that I could speak on it from a place other than that hurt. I edited the post, even though in my heart I did not feel I needed to. The edit was a compromise. I was hoping that those in leadership would see that I was offering something. Remember, I was in a leadership position also, and so as leaders it is important that people see a unified front. Because of this, I did not speak to anyone about the events that were happening. I was trying to be respectful, and I didn’t want any actions that would demean the church. So I sat on it. Hurt, angry, all of the above, I sat in silence. Praying, hoping, believing that something would come of this. Something positive, something real. Maybe this could be a time to show those who don’t know what it means to look past differences and move on. That is not what happened. At the end of 3 conversations, I was given an ultimatum, delete the post or resign my position. Wow.
Before I made a decision, I thought to myself why we couldn’t get to another resolution. There were more options that what were given. I know this because I brought them up, but they fell on deaf ears. I wished that I would have been given the opportunity to share my truth. I have, since the post, had numerous conversations with people of all colors about how I came to the conclusions that I did. Questions such as what specifically hurt me about the events? What would I have done differently? What can be done to move forward amicably in society? All of these questions are things that I have been discussing. But, at the one place where conversation should happen, I have nothing. Instead, I was given options that I could not realistically agree to. I just could not. It seemed to me that the options were given with the assumption that I would not agree to.
So in conclusion, I don’t wish that things were different. I am happy that it happened the way that it did. It allows for a life lesson to to taught, and learned, both by myself I think. Lessons such as the importance of standing on what is you believe even when it is challenged, the importance of having meaningful conversation, the importance of not judging a book by its cover, and finally, looking at the heart of a person more than what you assume on the surface. Those are lessons I will take from this experience.
To you (and you know who you are), I hope that you eventually learn that you were wrong about me, and that some day you will reach out to me. We can grab food or a drink, and have an actual conversation, and I will be more than happy to answer whatever it is that you would like to know. I will never speak your names, or speak the name of the church, because I have enough respect for what you stand for. I hope God’s best for you all.