Lately I’ve been pretty grieved by the state of affairs particularly around race relations in this country. In a time where divisiveness seems so apparent, I struggle with simply knowing how to “be;” I’d began asking myself, “What is safe for me and what is not?” “Where are my allies or whether they even truly exist?” “Where can I safely send my children to school or enroll them in their next swim class?” “If I move to a particular neighborhood, what can I expect? Will my family be welcomed or will we be unfairly profiled and victimized because of the color of our skin?” It’s been heavy and uncomfortable to say the very least. I am beginning to see some shifts in my own attitudes, perceptions and expectations that make me uncomfortable. I find myself tense when I wouldn’t ordinarily be. I’m beginning to retreat from exploring new territories in ways that I hadn’t before. Most notably, when I listen to what I am contributing to various conversations, I realize that I am operating from a place of fear rather than a place of faith and oh what an awful place this is to be.

Operating and making decisions from a place of fear is incredibly dangerous. It stifles us in our attempts to be our truest selves. It makes us defensive and often creates a falsified narrative that if left unaddressed begins to take over our entire reality. Faith on the other hand frees us to be who we ought to be, making room for us to respect others for who they are and to find value in their differences and it levels the playing field to a basic foundation of humanity. It’s where love lives and harmony thrives.

Despite my feelings of broken-heartedness over many of today’s tragic realities, I am reminded of a few things: I am reminded of the perseverance of all those that came before me and am assured that the same tenacity, passion and commitment to fairness, equity, and equality shine as brightly today as it did then. I am reminded that I am charged to overcome evil with good and that love will always prevail. I am also reminded that I cannot see what I am not willing to envision nor can I attract what I am not willing to be.

So, who and what am I willing to be? When I think about what I want to model for my young children it is a self-assuredness that brings forth a resounding and unrelenting understanding that I belong; I matter; I count; I add value; I am worthy; I am seen; I am appreciated; I am light. I want them to know these things of themselves and also to be able to recognize and appreciate them in others. I understand that I cannot model these things from a place of fear. It won’t allow it. Only faith can do that; faith and a strong commitment to putting my best foot forward every single day anticipating the very best in all of my encounters. So, this is who I will choose to be, a person that loves freely, walks boldly, shares honestly, and challenges myself to confront and addresse injustice unabashedly.

As I work toward bringing forth the very best version of myself and sharing it with the world without limitation, I encourage you to do the same. I encourage you to look inwardly, to cast out whatever fears may exist and walk boldly in pursuit of love, seeking understanding, extending compassion, operating with a strong sense of equity, fair-play and a spirit of service. We are all connected and will only be what we ought to be when we are concerned that others are who they ought to be cared for accordingly.

“In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Peace be with you.