I went to the airport Sunday for the march. On the train I sat by a writer from Chicago Times. I started the small talk, as per usual. “Are you going to protest?” He asked me.
Thoughts fired through my mind, as if I’ve never “rocked a boat” in my life. The word seemed a bit bold. Am I a protestor?
“I’m going to stand with people,” shot out of my mouth.
Because that’s all I knew.
At the moment, I knew little.
I knew that families and individuals whom God loved were being devastatingly blocked from the freedom they anticipated.
I knew that whole people groups were out there standing up for the causes of others – courageous and potentially marginalized people groups who had marched for years – and sometimes it worked.
I knew that I was feeling helpless and hopeless, and the my faith-based associations didn’t seem to have a plan for how to voice concern and call for change.
So I was going to stand with people who did.
“I’m going to stand with people.”
Because, last time people were standing outside together to use their voices at a different march, I didn’t go, and I regretted it that very day.
I regretted not going to that march, because I realized that inside of me – my fear of my name being attached to one of the issues I didn’t believe in was larger than my commitment to people knowing I love them. I cared more to guard my name than to be there beside them.
I battled not even going to the march on Sunday. I sought “the Lord” for another peaceful, influential, EASY strategy for doing my part, yet my insides screamed, “JUST DO SOMETHING.”
So I went and upon arrival, tears instantly welled from a depth of emotion that I walked into like a wall. While the chants revved up, I walked against the crowd till I found my poster board to write “All Are Welcome.”
And I joined the tides and walked. Cameras were everywhere – my face with the cause – broadcasting where? Did I know everything? Did I know why everyone else was there? Do I fully understand what this means to be here? And my insides celebrated, “WE’RE DOING SOMETHING!”
And I found myself chanting. And I found myself proud to be an American, and I found my heart growing in love and appreciation for the people around me. And in the midst of a protest, I felt like I was in the safest place in the world.
As I learn more, I’m even more motivated to stand with people, but I couldn’t go the other night, and instead of my heart jumping out of my chest – I wrote this blog.
I wrote to people maybe like me – white Christian “evangelicals” who don’t know what to do.
…in times that a visible leader claims your faith yet grossly misrepresents it, whose government prioritizes your comfort above your neighbors’ rights yet you serve a King who is the servant of all…
…you who have friends on both “sides” and a conviction (small or large) that something is not just. If you are anything like me, and I had to craft a pep talk for you, I’d take it straight from the mind battles I had to overcome that day –
- Don’t have to understand everything.
- Don’t wait for the perfect strategy that will fix it in a day.
- Don’t have to lead.
- Don’t withhold your presence or quiet your voice, because there is a sign or phrase among the many that make you uncomfortable.
- Do know that your presence makes a big difference.
- Find your feet some pavement, and find your hands a sign and join the “resistance” (some claim). Not because we are for resistance, but because we are for people – the ones the crowd stands for and the ones standing in the crowd.
When I was feeling pretty helpless the morning of that day, I pleaded for God to show me where He is moving in all of it. His response spoke to me a perspective of hope that I needed –
“I’m at the attorney table in your friend, Dee, as she works diligently to defend people.”
“I’m in the room with the families, giving them grace to for every situation.”
“I’m the spark in the protestors heart that led them out there. I am seen in part, not yet fully manifested. The drive that ignites hearts to stand for what they believe – that’s My handiwork and a glimmer of Me.”
And it brought me peace.
So, in whatever way you are engaging in the conversation and standing with someone who is hurting and/or voiceless, thanks for choosing to be with people. It reflects Jesus to me and reminds me of His life on the earth – present with us.