Friday, August 22, 2014

roots, wings, and bad-ass moms.

There are two 
gifts we should 
give our children. 
One is rootsand 
the other is wings.

Thanks for giving me both, mommacita.
I'm incredibly grateful for the 
strength of my roots. 

I'm trading in "blessed" and "lucky" for grateful this week. Thanks to the reflections of a colleague and some similar reflections I've had of my own, using the term blessed as often and as flippantly as so many have grown accustomed to is irresponsible, and sometimes downright offensive. It is a recent habit I have found myself taking up, and not one I want to continue.

I'm not one to preach the bible or even pretend to know most of what it contains. I was raised christian and I believe in god, but I am no expert when it comes to christianity. However, I refuse to believe that my god "blesses" some of us over others based on anything - our faith, our prayers, or even our ability to love and forgive. I do not believe that god "blessed" me with the privilege to know that I can bring a son into this world* and not worry (a single, tiniest bit) about if he is walking down the street in eighteen years and is stopped by the police that he will walk away without bullets in his chest. I don't believe that he (or she) blesses me and other white women with that piece of mind, and then chooses not to bless other  - equally loving, faithful, and forgiving - women with that same privilege.

I have absolutely no idea why I was born where I was or why I was born the race that I am. But I do know that I certainly don't believe that god has chosen me above others because of the depth of my faith, size of my heart, number of my prayers, or anything else.

I do know that we live in a country that thrives on systemic and deeply ingrained racism. As a result, the opportunities I have in life are not due to blessings from god, nor, more often than not, even my own achievements and abilities. They are most often due to the color of my skin. If and when I take advantage of these opportunities, god is not blessing me. In fact, every time I take advantage of these opportunities I need to ask myself what I will do with it - if I will selfishly hold it close and use it for myself, or if I will use it to help - to work to change the very reality I am naming right now. 

I am grateful for the roots and the wings (and everything in between) that my mom and dad have given (and continue to give) me. While I have undoubtedly been selfish and careless with many opportunities I have had in life, the opportunity to share the gifts that my parents have given me - my capacity for love, forgiveness, and compassion - is not one I will waste. 

And, every day, I am finding more of the strength, courage, and humility I need to make sure I don't selfishly waste other opportunities...

*I know there is some irony here. But it's for another day.

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