I started this blog to explore how I might become a better math teacher. Today I’m writing to explore how I might become a better person. A better husband. A better father. A better neighbor. A better stranger.
I have more questions than answers.
I’m not quite sure what to say, or how to say it.
Anyway, if you’re interested in following along as I stumble along, here goes.
Alton Sterling on July 5.
Philando Castile on July 6.
Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patricio Zamarripa on July 7.
Micah Johnson on July 7.
I’m halfway across the country. White and insulated. Unaffected. Yet entirely affected.
Trying not to return to “life as usual” so quickly this time. (Confession: That’s what I’ve often done.)
Trying to make sense of it all. (Spoiler: I cannot.)
Trying to learn mourning and lament. (Baby steps, thanks to my wife.)
Several days later, another news headline. A new tragedy. More dead.
I read further. It’s somewhere else. The Sudan, I think. Anyway, it’s not here. Not us.
Shame because I gave myself permission to view another human being as other and unworthy.
Other than myself, my family. Unworthy of my tears, my concern.
The better version of myself doesn’t look away. It mourns. It listens. It seeks to understand.
I’m not there yet. But I want to move in that direction.
Questions and Convictions
I’m not sure how to balance that desire to be compassionate against the reality that my conscience can’t bear the collective weight of human suffering, not even a fraction of it.
Nor am I sure how to balance the tension between compassion for others and caring for my family. (More on this in a future post, I think.)
But I am convinced of this: Christ is not honored when I look away from the plight of the orphan and the widow. He is not honored when I ignore the needs of others because it might cost me something.
So what does that mean for me? In the words of Francis Schaeffer, echoed often by one of my former colleagues, “How then shall we live?”
I don’t know. I’m in the process of figuring that out. But I do know that if my answer doesn’t honor the heart of James 1:27, if my answer doesn’t take into account the voices of the Old Testament prophets, who cry out loudly on behalf of the weak and the poor, then my answer doesn’t match God’s answer for how I should live in these challenging days.