The Robbery of Racism

I’ve known for a long time that racism doesn’t feel right, but recently I’ve really felt it on a personal level. I know what it is like for someone to walk away from me because they are not interested in what I have to say,but  someone walking away because of my skin color is something I have never experienced. I know what it is like to sit shyly in the corner and keep my opinions to myself , but I’ve never been afraid to speak out because my listener would only see my heritage and not hear what I have to say.

I have seen young First Nation girls after they’ve cut their skin, out of hatred for who they are. I have seen the puzzled look on a young child’s face when the other children don’t welcome their friendship. My heart aches for the many confident, secure children who waste their teenage years, drop out of school and turn to substances to fill the empty hole the rejection leaves.

Discouraged people usually don’t have the confidence to show others who they are. I don’t know what it is like to be rejected as a minority, but I know these children and teenagers have within them the capability for success. The Creator has put a dream inside everyone of us. Many oppressed people never allow themselves to dream and therefore, never use the gifts they have been given. They go through life as miserable survivors and raise children who are survivors. They were created for so much more and the world is robbed of their gifts and purpose.

I recently saw one of my previous elementary students who is now a twenty-one year old man. He is still working on his high school degree and I encouraged him to finish.  If I don’t believe in him, who will? I want to be the kind of person who guides the youth to be more, to dream big and to use their gifts on their journey on the path to the future.

Time to Rest

J is having a challenging start to her second semester. One of my “star” students had one good morning out of five. My toilet is still leaking. Now the kitchen taps started dripping. I have been battling a cold for most of the week. I am tired and have lost my focus. The path is rough and I keep tripping. I know I will reach my goal if I keep moving forward, but right now I just need to sit down. Have you ever had those times when you just have to stop and rest?

I decided to lay in bed an extra thirty minutes listening to the christian radio’s worship program. I just let the truth of who God is wash over me. Sometimes I go to church to watch people, but today I was just sitting and soaking in the presence of the Holy Spirit from the body of believers. As I opened my vulnerable soul, God reminded me that I did not have to feed the five thousand. Rather,  I need to be like the boy who offered his lunch and just give what I have.

Today I rest. Tomorrow I will continue on the path and now that I’ve spent some time with my Creator the obstacles in my path might not seem so huge and the path won’t be so lonely because I will walk knowing the Holy Spirit’s presence guides me on my journey.

Confidence on the journey

“She has no right to tell me how to raise my child.” I had offended a parent of one of my students. I didn’t mean to offend, I had meant to help the child but regardless of my intention I had caused pain to the parent. I tried phoning him to resolve the misunderstanding but was not successful in making the connection. It left me feeling confused and shaken.

The real test came when I felt thrown under the bus by my supervisor. I already felt unsure of what I had said and to be questioned about my intent felt like an attack on my character. I strive for peace at all costs and my self-confidence wavered when I felt the conflict was beyond my control.

I had to ask myself – Is my confidence found in others changing opinions of me or is it grounded in the One to whom I belong? As long as my confidence is in others, I try to protect myself by blaming, putting myself and others down and with the gift of denial.  When my eyes are fixed on who I am as a creation of God, I give myself permission to make mistakes (which I do a lot), and I am able to grant myself grace. I am able to own my responsibility in the misunderstanding and I am able to accept  those whom I think have overreacted or misunderstood my intent.

As I travel along the path, I will meet those on my journey who shake my belief in myself. I want to be the kind of person who accepts these people as gifts who push me to take my eyes off myself and  look to the Truth. With my eyes on God,  I will have the confidence I need to journey on the path of life.