Your life matters – to me

Black lives matter.

Blue lives matter.

All lives matter.

There is no argument that these are true statements.

So why is there so much controversy?

protest3I wonder if it is because we can’t get past the blanket of color or category to see into the personal life of a real person.

Perhaps we’d be better served to say:

Philando Castile’s life matters.

Brent Thompson’s life matters.

Cheyenne Stewart’s life matters.

It’s true that death doesn’t somehow hurt more if you are black, or a police officer, or an innocent child.

But it doesn’t hurt any less either.

Life isn’t fair. We know that.

I have absolutely no concept of what it is like to live in Chicago; I’m grateful for that.

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Similarly, a young man growing up in a poor section of that city cannot conceive what it is like to live in Hyde Park.

The thing is, I can’t imagine he would feel gratitude for that.

Nor should he.

So, do I think that people behind these movements are trying to send the message that the lives of the people they care about are MORE important than mine?

No.

I think they are crying out that I try to understand that their lives are AS important as mine.

Can we see the difference?

For a myriad of reasons, I have no distress when walking randomly in my neighborhood with my headphones in and not paying much attention to my surroundings.

walk-1501185If a car is coming and I don’t hear it, I have every expectation that it will avoid me. If I see someone approaching me, I have no anxiety that they have any intention of causing me harm.

When a policeman drives by, I wave .

And he waves back.

How do we think that young man from the south side of Chicago would react joining me on my walk?

No, life isn’t fair.

But that doesn’t mean that because of my luck of the draw to have lived a life where all the trust I placed in humanity was reciprocated back to me in safety, security, and care – that I should dismiss the cries of those who haven’t seen such a return.

It means that I should work harder to hear them.

But I’m not going to hear it from a megaphone or a screaming chant during a protest.

That’s too easy to tune out.

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I’m going to hear it when I search out the Philandos, and Brents, and Cheyennes within my circle of existence.

It’s a risk, for sure.

I’m going to have to reach out and trust without the same certainty of trust being returned that I have enjoyed all my life.

But we live in a time when risks must be taken. Cowering in our homes and demanding that somehow our government keeps us all safe is to give in to fear.

And suspicion.

And distrust.

Ahhh. Perhaps we are getting to the real problem.

So, I must risk getting hurt by you; you must risk getting hurt by me – isn’t that really the way that trust is built?

sadnessI’m going to fail at times, and so will you. We are going to be hurt.

But we have to have the courage that that’s okay.

Yes, black lives really do matter, as do blue lives and all lives.

Why?

Because YOUR life matters – to me.

You’re just going to have to trust me.hand openIt’s worth the risk.

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