Remember and Hope…

When I taught school and this day came around, it was always difficult for me to teach. I did not experience first hand any of the atrocities of segregation, though my parents and grandparents did. I lived in rural Mississippi as a child, but did not understand color difference. The song I sang every day, “Jesus Loves the Little Children”, said that Jesus loves us all, red and yellow, black and white, so I did too. It didn’t occur to me that others didn’t, hadn’t or wouldn’t. I never thought to ask my parents or grandparents. Getting older, I realized that there were differences. 99% of my church was white, but that wasn’t true at school or in my neighborhood. It still didn’t really dawn on me, that these issues were still around until I went to college where racial tensions came to head on Oct. 1, 1962 with the admission of James Meredith to Ole Miss, and still simmer under the magnolias there from time to time. So when it came to teaching my students about Martin Luther King, Jr. and what he did and what he stood for, I always felt inadequate. I would tell them the facts and read them the speech, and every time I would cry. I could not explain why I couldn’t make it through this historical text without being overcome and I always worried it would confuse my students, my emotions. After all, I had never been hurt by this horrible life of racism and segregation. I had never felt any hint of pain or loss or humiliation.
And then today I got it. I am sad and grieving because it happened at all. This dark mark on our history made by people created in God’s image against fellow image bearers. The wrongness is heartbreaking and moves me to tears every time. The damages we have done to our Creator’s work through our sin continue to put dark marks on us all. My pastor spoke of Godly sorrow vs. worldly sorrow on Sunday. Worldly sorrow is regret b/c of negative consequences. Godly sorrow is regret that we have hurt God and others.
I think Dr. King’s speech moves me to tears because also some things have not yet come to pass. Things are definitely better than in his day and he and the people who stood with him, went about it in the right way- peacefully. But some things he spoke of have not happened yet and will not happen until Jesus, our Savior, returns to completely heal this broken world. But I look forward to that day and pray I can help, in some small way. Hope is what we have.

My friend, Heidi's beautiful family. What our world SHOULD look like, and with hope, one day will.

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