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This past week, my family and I took a trip to Gatlinburg, TN.  I jokingly referred to the trip as the Edwards Extravaganza because all four siblings ,their kids and the grandparents were along.  Needless to say, we didn’t do everything together.  Something about trying to coordinate sixteen people.  We met up for dinner and games each evening but spent the days out and about.

My husband, son and I trekked over the mountain to Cherokee, NC.  As treks go, it was tame since we were in our Jeep as we drove through the pass and onto the reservation.  It was more than a touch surreal.  Shop signs were in English but street signs?  Cherokee first, English second.

Near the TN/NC border.

Our destination was the Museum of the Cherokee Indian.  Before I made my way through the exhibits, I thought I knew something about Cherokee history.  The truth of the matter was that I knew the history we learn in Missouri – the Oklahoma history.  In this museum, I learned about the prehistory, the move to live more like whites, the debate about moving to Oklahoma, Andrew Jackson, the Trail of Tears, and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee.

The removal of the Cherokee on the Trail of Tears split a people in half.  In spite of this, the museum was marvelously even-handed.  Facts about the Cherokee and the other Civilized Tribes were simply presented.  No one was vilified – not Jackson, not the Cherokee who favored the move. The story of the Cherokee people was told in all it’s complexity.

Yet when I tell people here in Missouri where I went and all I learned, people are more than willing to assign blame. I have to understand why Jackson did what he did; he was from North Carolina.  That one really confuses me since the Cherokee were also from North Carolina. Those Cherokee need to get off the reservation so their children can have a good life. If the Cherokee would work to be more like the mainstream culture, things would be better for them. The Cherokee and other civilized tribes farmed and lived like the dominant culture but were still forced onto the Trail of Tears.  A veneer of white-ness didn’t save them or their homes.

What does it mean to be an American?  It is to be part of a society with a complex history. Do you walk among others as a brother or sister? Or do you expect the fish to fly and the birds to swim?  This museum was definitely something I needed to see and I thank God for putting me on this path.

–SueBE

 

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My mom would have loved this quote from the author of Peter Pan.  She was a big one for being nice to people even when they aren’t being nice.  “Kill them with kindness” was her motto.

I don’t think she’d be super happy with me.  But, Mom?  Seriously.  These people are just so . . . so . . .

The St. Louis area has once again settled into a pattern.  Peaceful protests and Black Lives Matter during the day.  Riots and property destruction at night.  It isn’t everywhere.  It is actually really isolated.  Our area is pretty much business as usual, but people are people which means they are scaring themselves.

For some of you who don’t have teens, you may not realize that this is also homecoming season. This, of course, means TPing.  One woman reported a group of teens “committing mayhem with toilet paper.”  Yeah, that sounds scarier than TPing but let’s get real.  Just because someone TPed your neighbor’s house does not put you in the thick of it.  The fact that you were scared of a group of laughing teens with butt-wipe . . . well, it tells us more about you than about them.

Now, that did occur at night and some people are easily spooked once the sun goes down.  Full disclosure time.  My 6’1″ son doesn’t even jump out at me any more.  He stands around a corner in the dark and waits for me to walk into him.  Just stands there, grinning like a loon.  My fight-or-flight reflex is such that I always jump.  Always.

But enough about jumpy me.  We also had our annual balloon race this weekend.  You may not know that the balloons land wherever.  A few at the landing site.  A few here.  A few there. One or two landed on residential streets.  One flew so low over my friend’s house that you could hear the burner ignite.  “It was awesome!”  That’s what my friend thought anyway. Other people posted about how utterly terrifying the balloons were.

Utterly terrifying.

I may jump high enough to go into orbit when my son startles me, but as a society we really need to get over being spooked by everything.  Black Lives Matter supporters?  They have no plans to burn your home.  Really.  They just want us to decriminalize the color of their skin.  Quit treating them like thugs.

I spent a lot of time this weekend praying for patience.  I can’t say I managed to consistently be kinder than was necessary, but today is another day.   Just be nice.  Just be kind.  Take a really deep breath.

–SueBE

 

I haven’t had much to say publicly about DACA.  It isn’t that I don’t have an opinion.  I have tons of opinions.  The problem is that most of them aren’t socially acceptable. But this quote by Roosevelt pretty much says it all.

It reminds me of these verses from Matthew 25:

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

Right or left, people.  Right or left.

–SueBE

Surely, I’m going to write about Charlottesville. How could I not write about Charlottesville? How could anyone remain silent as evil surges through the streets; as so-called “Christians” claim not to hate anyone, while in the next breath asserting that they would never break bread with a person of color; as a woman is killed by Nazis on American soil?

I need to take a breath. I feel sick.

I feel sick when I reckon that 34% of this country stands with a guy who sees no difference between White Supremacists and those brave enough to stand up to them. I feel sick when I think of the lie of history behind those “beautiful statues” (mostly dedicated in the early 1900s, when Jim Crow laws started being enacted, and the rest in the 1960s when the Civil Rights movement was burgeoning). I feel sick when I think of the hate burning in the hearts of all of those polo-shirted white guys marching with their tiki torches, as if they were waylaid en route to a suburban barbecue.

I am heart-sore. Weary. Nauseated. And yet, I know how privileged I am — what must our black friends, our Jewish friends, be thinking and feeling? It makes me want to swoon into despair.

SueBe and Ruth, my co-bloggers, have been my lights this week, reminding me not to give into the darkness. To keep my candle lit so that others can add their own little lights to it, so maybe we can make a path through the darkness and into a better place. What would I do — what would any of us do — without the support of those who “get it,” who feel as we feel and recognize that what’s on the line isn’t about politics; it’s about good versus evil?

So, for everyone out there too sick and sad and sore to grab onto the life preserver of hope, let me be an outstretched hand. Good people still exist. They’re out there. Maybe they need to make a little more noise, but they’re out there.

And I love you, and I stand with you, and I will hold out my candle defiantly, no matter what occurs. We will not let hatred win. Because no matter which biblical excerpts some people mutilate in order to justify their racism, there is one that trumps (ha!) them all: “7 My dear friends, let us love one another, since love is from God and everyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.8 Whoever fails to love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4: 7-8)

Let love mend us. Amen!

What do you see that needs to change?

You have a choice.  You really do.

Choose to be kind.  Choose to give people the benefit of the doubt.  Choose to be polite.

It’s a great way to show the world the Light of Christ.

–SueBE

 

Respect. Definitely something we need to spread throughout the world and in our local communities.

 

Open your heart. Open your eyes. 

See people with the love of God in your heart.

–SueBE

 

Have a Mary Little Christmas

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