As I watched the events of last week unfold, I experienced a range of emotions...
Sadness, anger, and disbelief that these things--the violence, the hatred, the murder--were taking place.
And then there is the feeling of fear.
Not fear for myself.
And I don't mean that in the arrogant "It won't happen to me" sense.
But fear for my daughter and what she is facing as she continues to grow up in this world. because of the color of her skin...her beautiful brown skin.
Because sadly, assumptions will be made about her...because of the color of her skin.
But she's not. She is Guatemalan born.
She's not. She has been a citizen since that day (March 4, 2004, to be exact) that we landed in Houston and came through immigration. And we have all the necessary "proof"...adoption decrees from Guatemala and North Carolina, birth certificates, her Certificate of Citizenship, a US passport.
She doesn't speak English.
She does. In fact, she has a vocabulary that far outshines many adults I know.
She is wicked smart, passionate, sensitive, talented, musical, funny, loyal, dedicated.
But those things are not visible.
What is visible is her brown skin, her black hair, her dark eyes.
And she will be judged, categorized, stereotyped, and labeled based on her outward, visible appearance.
So yes, I carry that fear with me.
I have hope.
I. Have. Hope.
Because I have faith.
Hebrews 11:1 tells us "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."
I hope for the day that we all see each other as equal.
That is the way that we were created...as equal.
Male and female...
The many tones and colors of skin that make up the human race...
We were created as equal.
And as I listen to and watch my daughter and her friends from school, and church, and choir...
My hope is strengthened.
My faith is strengthened.
Because these young people treat each other with respect and caring and compassion and love the way all of God's people were intended to do.
I find myself turning to my prayer book more often these days than ever before. I find hope, and strength, and comfort in the many prayers contained in that book.
In particular, I find myself praying the prayer "For Young Persons" on a daily basis because they are growing up in challenging, difficult times and will face a challenging, difficult future.
God our Father, you see your children growing up in an unsteady and confusing world: Show them that your ways give more life than the ways of the world, and that following you is better than chasing after selfish goals. Help them to take failure, not as a measure of their worth, but as a chance for a new start. Give them strength to hold their faith in you, and to keep alive their joy in your creation; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. (BCP, p. 829)
And I have also added the prayer "For the Human Family" after we prayed it together in church this past Sunday.
O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen (BCP, p. 815)