Saturday, July 20, 2013

Racism in the Bible?

I've been incommunicado for quite some time as I heal from the death of my son, had some unexpected health issues and well, just trying to get on with life in general.

In that time I've mostly eschewed politics and the news as during this time I've come to realize more than ever that by believing God is sovereign and in control I also must believe that He's aware of all the politics and unfairness in our country. As a result, I've realized I must, as a Christian believer, trust Him even as the ugliness and unfairness I perceive in this world is something that my Lord is aware of-and while I have mostly abandoned commenting, recent happenings have brought me out of my self-imposed exile of choosing not to comment. 

Instead, I go to my Bible to see what God has to say on an issue... and leave it at that.

I have made some comments on my Facebook page when I see something that is contrary to what I've learned-especially when it's a family member! In other words, I've been pretty faithful to my commitment to keep my mouth closed when it comes to politically charged and/or controversial issues.

So what has brought me out of hiding?  A few seemingly dis-similar events in recent news.  These being first, the Supreme Court's decision that a provision of the voting rights law is no longer needed because racism is no longer a problem. ...and then, of course, the trial of George Zimmerman in the death of Trayvon Martin. And lastly, our presidents' comments on this case.

Full disclosure: I voted for this man and I also have a grandchild who has a similar mixed race geneology (a  Congolese father and a mom from Idaho). As I type, my daughter has made a decision to take her out of public school and home school her instead due to the outright mean hatred of classmates. For all intents and purposes, my granddaughter, by virtue of the color of her skin, could have been Trayvon.

Being troubled by all this, I recalled a story that touches on skin color perhaps.  Check out Numbers 12:1-16 - and for my purposes Numbers 12:1 is the primary focus.

Briefly, Miriam and Aaron came to Moses on the pretext of the fact that he had a Cushite (Ethiopian or perhaps Nubian) wife. The color of her skin is never mentioned and in the many commentaries I've read before I set out to write this, she is described as perhaps "swarthy" or dark and different. The bigger picture is that Marion, and to a lesser degree, Aaron resent Moses special relationship before God. That being said, I have to wonder if the color of this wife's skin isn't more important in God's eyes. Scripture goes on to tell what God did about it... " When the cloud lifted from above the tent, Miriam’s skin was leprous—it became as white as snow (leprous skin disease).-Numbers 12:10 In other words, God put Miriam in her place and she suffered the isolating consequences of any skin disease and was banished from the camp.

Paul taught in Ephesians 2:11-18 that we are all equal before God.  Somewhere, it's written that we, as Americans have "equal justice under the law". I'm not sure that is true anymore, if ever. When I see the stats on prisoners by race, and especially in the "Stand Your Ground" state of Florida, I DO see racism.

Hubby and I were discussing after watching the talking heads comment on President Obama's impromptu appearance and speech. It was mentioned how our parents never had to warn us about the dangers of being Caucasian. We, as "white folk" have never had to fear being pulled over just because of the color of our skin, or the way we dressed.  While I am "color blind" now, I recall something my mom said after I loaned a black girlfriend a dress--- that "they" have an odor that never leaves. I never wore that dress again as a result because mom would have been upset. And I truly don't recall my parents being overtly racist... but subtly, this statement brought to my mind that "they" were not like us.

I was truly baffled by the statement of Mark O'Mara (Mr. Zimmerman's attorney) when he stated that "If Mr. Zimmerman were black, this would have never come to trial".  REALLY!!!  I have to question what world he's living in! The selective blindness for the sake of being seen as righteous is so much like what Jesus called the Pharisees- BLIND GUIDES. Sadly, I see this becoming more prevalent in this land of the free and home of the brave, this land of equal justice for all.

Some time ago, there was a book written called "Black Like Me" about a white man who turned his skin very dark in order to experience and subsequently write about his experience in the 1960s south   ... I venture to say that while, on the surface, we are a less racist society, that if one peels off a layer or two, its all still there. God had it right when He decided to show Miriam how her attitude of jealousy and desire for power colored her-so white that there was a need to banish her from camp!  Truly, my friends, how "white" are you really- pure as the driven snow or as diseased as a leper?

I realize that there are a number of other issues that I could consider in the Zimmerman case (guns, stand your ground, vigilantism, and of course the lesser issues inherent in the case).  I choose instead to focus on the REAL issue that, per judge's order, couldn't be discussed:racism/bigotry/bias and the arrogance of white folk.  The political hotbed of gerrymandering for the purpose of subjugating the minority vote and getting, keeping and maintaining government power to suppress equality are on my mind also-for another day perhaps?

The law of the land has found Mr. Zimmerman not guilty and that's how our justice system works.  As his brother stated-he has to live with having killed a kid for the rest of his life. Soon after OJ was found not guilty, I said to many others that if indeed he is not innocent, he'll perhaps kill again or get into some other trouble-- we do, after all, reap what we sow...and we know where OJ is.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Farewell to yesterday's road

Today my oldest son John would have been 43. I'd like to think he enjoyed all the partying that took place last weekend in his honor... a celebration of his life with a wonderfully loving group of friends and townsfolk who shared stories, played John's music and toasted him with his favorite libation! Javalina Crossing-you're my new favorite BCC hangout, and Tumbleweed Junction... my favorite band!

Soon after I wrote my last post, John passed with a sigh and a grunt.  I'd like to think the sigh was having at last reached the top of that Stairway to Heaven ("our song") and the grunt? That was John pushing the gate of heaven open after his long arduous journey. I'm sure when I get there, he'll be waiting.  I heard from many of his friends that he talked about me a lot more than I might have otherwise been comfortable with.  In fact, he was often described as a "Mama's boy".  ...and that makes me smile!

In retrospect, I realized that in my last post, I was praying God's will. Before then, even as I prayed and believed God for healing, He kept saying no. I'm thinking that even as ornery as he was, the Lord has some important work for him in heaven.  I'll know for sure when my time comes. Though I expect it will have something to do with fishing or caring for all those dogs in heaven.

I'm on my way home tomorrow. Back to "usual" if there is such a thing after this particular road.  I've decided that I'm one month behind the rest of you and starting 2013 on Feb. 1--- and did you know, they're having a Super Bowl on my birthday!

1 John 5:14-15

Monday, January 14, 2013


Sitting with my son John in hospice. It has been five days since the decision was made to rescue him from the debilitation his illness would have left him with. A life that he often said he wouldn't want should that be the path his life took.  And so here we are.

He is looking very peaceful and comfortable thanks to the hourly medication he's receiving. His breathing is fast, with an occaisional deep sigh. Each time he does that my heart quickens-and then he breathes again... and that is where the confusion is. To say I am torn is an understatement. I'm his mom, he's my baby and here I sit waiting for him to die... or get up and walk out of here!

Over these days of waiting, his wife, family and friends and I have laughed, cried, had our "moments", as we call them of weeping and wishing we didn't have to be here. I know when I step away for too long, I want to be by his bedside...and yet I utterly despise that I have to be here at all.

I freely confess that I am angry! Angry with the Lord for doing this to me.  I wonder what kind of love this is, that He would allow my firstborn to go through all this, to hurt his wife like this, to cause this kind of pain to me- one who has been faithful to love, to serve, to do "all the right things" His Word directs.

I've talked a lot about Job in many recent posts...and as sad a tale as that is I cling most to one verse ( Job 13:15 ) . Not to say I always "feel" it, but it reminds me there is more to my current sense of sadness and grief.  I will still be here- and after the emotions I am currently experiencing have faded-my life will continue. The sun will still shine, and my Lord will be right there with me- and help me through (Psalms 23:1-6 )

I want so much for John's body to cease its struggle for breath- to reach the top of that "Stairway to Heaven" -but Lord, the waiting is so very hard! I pray most of all for the waiting to end.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Selfish vs Selfless

It's not often that I write more than 6 posts a year.  As I share my thoughts on this unexpected journey-feel free to share yours. I've always believed in commUNITY and hope that what I write may someday help you, even as your prayers, love and support help me.

As this journey continues, the question remains for Dawn and I: "Are we doing the right thing?"

I have been here before. I've lost a husband in the past and while he died at an unexpected time, it was something I knew was coming. I
can't say I was truly ready but it just occurred to me that at his passing he was just about my son John's age..43.  I was there when my mom succumbed to cancer (age 58).  ...and when my dad suffered heart and kidney failure and we said good-bye.

It is indeed true that the one thing we're sure of is that someday we're going to die. A common saying is that the only guarantee we have in
this life is "death and taxes".  I know that many, if not all of us have given some thought to how we'd like to leave this world. Whether one is a
Christian who believes in going to our heavenly home after our time is done; or, as my beloved believes... that we just cease to exist- you
know that as those you love die, you've wondered what it will be. Is there more after our bodies succumb? To put it bluntly we come face to
face with our mortality. This life WILL end.

Knowing that John is never going to have a quality of life even 50% of what he once had, Dawn and I are faced with the choice to
discontinue curative treatment. Essentially, we would need to tell the doctors and nurses to no longer administer the antibiotics currently
being given. To take him off the ventilator that helps him to breathe easier. To stop the fever-reducing medication and the blood pressure medicine and just keep him comfortable. It means saying good bye to John-even the John that we wish we didn't see in this helpless, debilitated state.

We want to be selfish and keep him with us. We want some indication that the doctors are wrong and that he'll return to the John that made
us laugh, cooked a mean "whatever is in the fridge" meal. Called his mom just because he was bored so we could share music, discuss politics and what shows we were watching on the tube or internet. We want!!!

We've discussed what John would want too.  And even if we were to continue, where he is now would likely not change. He'd really never
return to us as we want.  Right now, it is so painful to see him lying in the bed, connected to multiple monitors and IVs and a respirator. It hurts to know that he would shoot us both for letting him remain in this state. And so, we're going to do the self-less.

...and yet I pray even as Jesus did in Gethsemene “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
(Lk 22:42).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Unexpected Path...

My vision for this blog, "Along the Way" is to share all the Lord is doing in my life as I journey on the road toward the narrow gate.  If you know me-from Facebook or some other place, you also know that the current road I'm on is not one I ever expected. Indeed, this particular slice of the journey is testing my faith more than even I want to admit.

As I write, I'm in ICU at St. Joseph's Hospital in Phoenix, AZ. I'm spending the night with my beautiful boy John as soon we're going to discontinue treatment and "let go and let God" as the saying goes.

How often do we say that we're going to do this, and then take it back from Him? I know I've done it more often than I can count! I'm sure you have a few of those "Thanks Father, I got this one now" moments. And then He puts us in that position where He's the only one that can possibly show us the way, the right thing to do- His will.

On this journey his wife, Dawn, and I have had more mountaintops (when it seemed he'd recover) and valleys (when another infection attacked or his poor brain would fill up with fluid-AGAIN). We were talking about it the other night and had to wonder if God had given us the right path to choose even before we traversed another of the "valley" times. And oh how it hurts!! And trusting God is ALL I can do!

I know I'm not the first mom to lose a child. And yet it is such a solitary experience also. Thoughts wander to all my "bad mother" moments and how I'd like a do-over. Then, off to all the times John stole my car- even going so far as to bring back one stolen vehicle because it ran out of gas, then stealing the other one!  A few "John got busted" calls, and a time or two when he just needed his mom, even as an adult.

One call, quite a few years ago, he was crying "Mom, my car caught on fire".  When I asked if he was ok, the answer was " yes I'm ok but Mom, it's a '69 Camaro and now it's on fire".  More recently...just about a year ago, his favorite dog, Harley, was severely injured and he was heartbroken-and because he was, so was I.  Harley survived that just as John has survived so much throughout his life. Sadly, Harley passed away just before Christmas, and John never knew it.  And now, if dogs go to heaven, John will be united with him.

I've told John that he's forgiven for all the bad stuff he's done. I've asked John's forgiveness for all the bad choices I have made that affected his own path. I hope and pray most of all that when he stands before God that our Lord will see John's good heart. When it's my turn to go home-Lord, please let me once more see my firstborn.

Most of all, what I miss is the way he'd say "Yes, Mother" when I was having a soapbox moment. It was then I knew he'd heard me.  ...and now, I don't know,.