As I start to write this I am also starting to worry about getting it wrong, no matter how well intentioned I am, the worlds emotions are running high, tensions are at breaking point and the we seem to be on fire.
In some ways I recognise my privilege and my fortune. In other ways I do not. I was poor, from a family that was broken by addiction in a community that was not safe. There was no talk of further education, opportunity or self actualisation. That was for other people, other communities. I have been in situations which I have feared for my life, saw and experienced violence, saw the darkness of addiction and crime but I am privileged because I saw opportunities and ways to 'become' safer to move towards a world that was beginning to offer me a road out of the danger and instability. That is the privilege and fortune that others talk about and although it is hard to see it sometimes, I do acknowledge it.
Coming from a place that had no cultural diversity, I became sheltered from other cultures - I saw my elders fear, ridicule, judge and hate, pull apart the 'others' because they were never taught how to be any different.
And yet when I did encounter 'difference' through visiting the bigger cities and travelling - I saw my brothers and my sisters. I saw how a mother in would pick up her toddler and hug him tightly before he ventured too near to the road. I saw the old man talk to his wee dog on the bench in the park with a sense of loneliness and isolation. I saw youngsters in the streets heading for a hard road through addiction and crime. I didn't really matter where in the world I was as I could see the humanity first. They were not to be feared or to be hated, they were part of me and I part of them.
The heart, the emotion, the courage, the vulnerability, the endurance.
I hurt for those who are not safe, those who are oppressed and scared, those who are frustrated and angry because this world of privilege and fortune pushes them down. I feel such a mix of sadness and rage that we seem to be moving at such a pace in the wrong direction, with leaders who seem to want to watch the world burn as they stoke the flames.
I am sorry, I am ashamed of our descent into fear, hate and separateness.
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.” Martin Luther King Jr.