There are times when the life comes at you so fast that you just want to run away…but I can’t run that fast. It overtakes me in ways that just….well there really aren’t any words.
As I was coming back to work on Thursday from lunch I noticed again the light flashing on my dashboard. “Check Brake Light.” Truth—it has been on for over a week. I am going to get around to checking my break light, but it takes so much work! I have to get someone else to see which light it is, go to the auto parts shop and get the light, unload all he ‘stuff’ in my trunk, figure out how to get the old one out and get the other one in. I will get around to it. Sometime.
I can do that, because to be honest, I am a middle aged, middle class, white haired, white man. A break light out is not a life threatening situation.
But as I drove out of the neighborhood there were two young African American teenage boys walking down the street carrying their skateboards. And my heart broke.
We live in the same neighborhood but not in the same world.
I wanted to stop. I wanted to get out of my car and just say, “Excuse me, can we talk? I need your help. I really want to know how you are. The news is full of stories about black men being shot for things that don’t even appear on my radar. I mean, who buys CD’s anymore? A taillight out? How are you? Would you just talk to me, tell me your story, help me understand what it is like to live in your world?”
I wanted to stop, but I had to pick something up so I drove on. I vowed that if they were there when I came back I would stop…..but …..
And that is how we are. I live in my world, and they live in theirs, and we never stop to talk, to listen. I live with my prejudices and they live with their fears and we don’t understand. So we stay in our cars, in our houses, in our cocoons, in our worlds—while the world falls apart around us.
Somehow I continue to miss that little recurring line in the gospels, “As he went….” Jesus was always being interrupted by life, only he stopped to listen, to be, to heal. Maybe my prayer needs to be to stop.
I will. After I get this finished!