I don’t believe loving someone is ever easy, especially when it’s a stranger.
Yesterday, I shared a piece I wrote the day after Election 2016. Emotions were high, much of our nation was baffled, and experience reminded me that loving people is complicated.
But, just three days later, the hand I was dealt was angry, white, and male.
And for the very first time, I absorbed hatred in the presence of my children.
Last weekend, I was driving my kids home from a birthday party. We were one stoplight from our destination.
The filthy white pick-up directly in front of our vehicle remained approximately 10 seconds after the light turned green. I fought the former Californian within me and chose to lightly tap on my horn. The kids desperately needed to go down for a nap.
And then it happened. When the truck finally began to move, its driver, a middle-aged white male, flipped me off from the cab.
But that wasn’t enough.
Still moving at a gingerly pace, he then proceeded to slide open his back window, extend his right arm, and flip me off again.
Still, that wasn’t enough.
For his grand finale, when he saw that I was exiting the lane, he reached his entire left arm out of the driver’s window and offered – you guessed it – another middle finger.
In response, a concerned voice called from the backseat, “What happened, Mom?”
In that moment, I became Muslim, black, and persecuted. For the first time, I experienced the hatred that threatens the peace of many in our country. Simultaneously, I was struck by guilt and victimhood.
“He was very upset with me,” I explained to my son, “but I hope one day he will respond differently.”
And I hope you will, too, Son.
Tomorrow I will be traveling to the heart of West Virginia (i.e. Trump country) with my daughter. Over the next four days, our church team will deliver needed Christmas spirit: backpacks with hygiene items, school supplies, and toys.
In many ways, it feels like descending the ivory tower. I’m nervous but mostly excited for the opportunity of time – to learn new perspectives, to grow in the discomfort.
And I have this suspicion that – deep within those hills – Jesus will move mountains deep within me.
One Year Ago: Deep Waters