I haven't been able to write. I am not sure if I can write now.
There may have been a few happenings going on in the world that has had my mind and heart pained. I have been just a bit at a loss for words. No, honestly, I have had no words. For weeks. Not sure I've found them now. Not sure it matters.
I am questioning so much.
I am questioning what kind of country my children and grandchildren will live in.
I am questioning what I thought I knew about the world, and the people in it.
I am questioning being comfortable.
I am questioning if I should even be comfortable, after all, that is a privilege and we are told to "check our privilege" now.
I am questioning if I have the right skin color.
I am questioning if I have the right to have an opinion.
I am questioning who I should believe.
I am questioning if I believe myself.
I am questioning if I have enough faith.
My heart is crushed by the current state of unrest that is currently ongoing in our country. It comes from multiple levels and multiple perspectives . I feel pressed against what I truly believe in my politics and faith and what the media narrative and some on the opposite side of the fence as me wants me to believe. I suddenly feel as if I should feel uncomfortable in my own skin. Maybe that's how my black brothers and sisters have always felt? I don't know and in conjunction to having no words, I have no answers. I just know it pains me. There is new ground breaking in me that has opened the deluge of questions and unknowns I have come face to face with, and that I didn't know I had. It cuts deep into what I thought I knew.
Indulge me for a moment here:
I was not brought up in a privileged home. Let me define privilege for the sake of this blog. Life of luxury, ease, financial peace, and special consideration due to prominent connections. My upbringing was anything but that, but I did have the privilege of coming from a lineage of very strong women. I know what the political meaning of "white privilege" is. You can learn that here too.
My great grandparents came here from Perugia and Palermo Italy. They came with nothing (not even English) but a will to create a life here in America. They had 5 children, my grandmother Jenny, being one of them. She married a German man who was a fisherman. He would travel far into Canada to fish. What he caught, she would prepare in their small tavern where she made all the food herself. Their oldest daughter (my mother Palma) stayed at home after school raising her brother who was 7 years younger than she. My mother graduated from high school at 16, went to nurses training and met my father Howard, through letters while he was fighting in the Korean War. After the war, they married and had six children. He had many jobs such as food delivery, truck driver, etc. to make ends meet. Times were tough and at 44 years of age, my father passed away, leaving my mom a single mom. She struggled financially to put us through Catholic grade school, and provide a home, food and clothing...but she never quit and her faith was unshakeable. I was the fifth child of the six. I started working at 16, held 4 jobs simultaneously to put myself through college, started my first company at 24, married at 26, had three daughters, divorced at 36 and found myself having to follow the example my single mom had set. I worked full time while getting my MBA with three children under 10, started multiple companies after, have been homeless, broke, and devastated financially so to tell me that I am privileged just because I am white, I don't buy it - nor have I experienced it. To say one race or another is privileged is to say that God picked favorites while he created us. I didn't choose my skin color, I chose my path in life. I know some will read this and say "you just don't get it!" Oh no, I do. You don't think women haven't had to fight "male privilege" in career aspirations or income inequality? I get it. I just refuse to be a victim to it. Nonetheless, I am pressing through all that I am questioning about myself.
Here is what I am learning:
Pain is an inevitable walk of a Jesus follower. If Jesus felt pain, why do you think you should be immune?
If I have privilege, it's only because of my position in Christ. It certainly would never come from my skin color. And your skin color, doesn't determine my success or favor.
Being planted means growth is coming.
No one likes the pruning process. Typically a time of discomfort in spirituality is due to pruning which then leads to bearing more fruit but, being cut does not have to equate to being cut off.
Our focus determines our fruit.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:1-5
In the next blog, I am going to dive into this verse and what Jesus is saying here. I've actually written about a part of this verse early in the year here: The Safety of Remaining
Coincidence that God is having me revisit it? Not a chance.
In the pressing, in the crushing, in the pain, in His privilege, in the planting and the pruning he is making new wine. If you're feeling the same, I hope I can help. Let's remain in Him and while we do, prepare for a bountiful harvest.
I would love to know your thoughts (even if you adamantly disagree with me).