Lately, I’ve felt overwhelmed by the screams of division.
I log onto Facebook, and, if status updates could talk, all I hear is screaming. I open up Twitter, and the War between who’s right and who’s wrong, who’s in and who’s out, who’s educated, who’s privileged, who’s called, and even who’s scapegoated becomes the center of conversation, at least within the Christian circles I run in.
We fight. We disagree. We assert our rights, our power, our opinions. We think this song is about us. We forget the person behind the profile; we believe that voicing our opinion – our very, very right opinion – is all that matters. We altogether miss the point of Jesus himself, 99.9% of the time.
Maybe I thought we’d be over it by now.
Maybe I thought healing would have come to our hearts, our people, our nation.
Maybe I thought we would have realize that the only thing we can do, when it’s inevitable that we’ll disagree with one another, is to run after unity, as if our lives depend on it. Because they do.
Sometimes, I too get caught up in the drama. I plead for a drop of unifying medicine one minute, then I find myself taking sides and yelling at my children to stop fighting with each other in the next breath.
I don’t doubt it goes together.
Because in the midst of the pleading and the screaming and the forgetting, too, I neglect to remember that my heart beats wildly for unity. I neglect to remember haunting words, like Alan Paton bravely wrote in Cry, the Beloved Country: “The tragedy is not that things are broken. The tragedy is that they are not mended again.”
A couple weekends ago, we visited my best friend in Portland, Oregon. “How do you feel about an after-dinner walk?” she asked me, grabbing a glass of wine for herself and a football for her son. I nodded my head, my yes as affirmative as it could be in that moment.
Within a couple of minutes, all six of us set out for a lap around the block. The three boys ran ahead, throwing the football, racing over sidewalk boxes, saying hello to neighbors. The three of us lagged behind, deep in conversation, before running ahead to stop a wandering toddler from jetting into the street.
“We try and walk around the block every night,” Mindy said to me, gazing around the tree-lined avenue. “And it’s been amazing how this one little act has started to really, truly build community, right where we live.”
I couldn’t hope but hope for the same in our neighborhood.
So, a couple of days ago, the boys and I set out for a walk around the block. It wasn’t anything miraculous, at least not by the standards of meeting and connecting with every neighbor in our immediate radius. In fact, we didn’t meet anyone at all. But we did say hello to a dog, and we did get to smell a few flowers, and we did hold hands with each other for part of it, too.
And that’s pretty miraculous to me, because in our own little way, we’re promoting unity. We’re building togetherness. We’re holding onto hope, with each other and with our neighbors, in a world that thrives on division.
We’re doing what we can do – because what we can do is sometimes all we can do – one step at a time.
And at least for today, that’s enough.
What about you? How are you vying for unity in your slice of the woods? Also, this whole idea is CRAZY on my mind because of Deidra Riggs’ words in her new book, One: Unity in a Divided World. Please read it if you haven’t already – oh, and Paton’s book, too.
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