Humanity and Hope

A friend of mine sent me a text last night and asked me how I am.

I asked her if she wanted the truth.

The truth is: I'm sad. No, I'm heartbroken. Devastated.

I actually am struggling to find words to even consider the level of devastation that I am currently experiencing.

I have always loved my country. I remember saluting the flag every single day that I was in school from Kindergarten until 12th grade. I remember being the leader in the patriotic parade. I fell in love with American history when my teachers first took us to Williamsburg, VA. I felt the pulse of the excitement and passion that our forefathers were fueled by as they dreamed up a country that could be so different from what they'd known. I remember the first time I understood slavery and what racism really was and feeling grateful (at the time) that our country had grown up since then and shut down those ugly voices. I remember learning the real words to the star spangled banner so that I could audition to sing it before the basketball games at my high school.

I remember where I was sitting in my professor's class when I realized that American history was more complicated than I had ever understood it to be before. I remember learning about women's right to vote being less than a 100 years old, about the Triangle Shirt Factory fire, about how my Mother's high school wasn't integrated until almost a decade after Brown vs. Board. I remember learning about Medgar Evers who was assassinated in my parents' youth and his murderer was finally convicted in mine. I remember where I was when the Towers fell, I remember where I was when shots were fired at Columbine, Virginia Tech, Charleston, Chattanooga and more.

Do you know what I don't remember?

Someone neglected to mention how devastating it is to believe in something that could let you down so hard.

Here's the thing. I still think that there is something really special about being an American. But that's not my identity. It never has been.

My identity is a human being created in the image of God. No better than any other human being that lives or has ever lived. I was made from the same dust that you were. I was made by the same hands that molded me, shaped me, loved me and then allowed my selfish nature to nail His Son to the cross because He wasn't the Savior I wanted.

America is not our savior; Jesus is.

There is heartbreak across the world tonight. A Mother in the hills of East Tennessee who won't get to tuck her youngest son into bed tonight because he died tragically this morning. Another Mother in Haiti who has also buried her child, has no bed at all because the hurricane swept it away. We are HURTING. We are bleeding out in our hurt. And all I can hear is the cries of an angry mob with pitch forks about how we need a savior, when we all ready have one.

This country will let you down. The people in it will hurt you. Because we are broken, sinful people. And because this world is broken and in it there is disease, hurricanes and car accidents.

Now what?

Maybe... its as simple as a kind voice in the darkness. Maybe its turning off the computer and running in the leaves with your children. Maybe its a donation to a local place that can get clean water to that Mother in Haiti. Maybe its a gift card to a heartbroken friend. Maybe its a laugh you needed, maybe its a cry you've been stifling.

I know what its not though, its not all this noise. Your contribution to the noise won't make this brokenness go away, but it will send a ripple of hurt that your fellow humans and heartbeats could live without.

Its not about making a temporary kingdom great so we can hope for the best, its about fixing our eyes on the One who brings Hope to the Hopeless.

And so Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in You.
— Psalm 39:7 (NLT)