See my boy

See my boy

Sweet, little toes.

Precious nose. 

Chubby cheeks. 

First steps.

Belly laughs.

ABCs and 123s.

Strong legs run fast.

Make-me-laugh antics.

Off to kindergarten.

Discovers Spiderman.

Makes new friends wherever he goes. 

He loves any and every kind of sport that includes a ball.

(Black boys only play basketball and football.)

He graduates to middle school and embraces strong opinions and loud music. 

(Why is that bass so loud? What a bunch of disrespectful kids.)

Hugs, belches, and debates are commonplace. 

(He is too boisterous for his own good.)

Eighth grade is a beast that he conquers and is also the year of his first crush.

(My daughter is off-limits to your affections.)

High school is here and it is a busy life with games, events, lessons, and friends. And of course, several missteps that we have to work through.

(Why isn’t that tall boy playing basketball? What do you mean he is on the debate team? What’s he doing there?)

He’s discovering who he is as a person.

(He has a hoodie on and has suspicious intentions.)

It’s a glorious sight to see. 

(Stay in your lane. Don’t challenge the status quo.)

He is a handsome masterpiece that I get to watch being chiseled into form.

 (He might have more options if he didn’t talk the way he talks.)

It’s an honor to watch him grow his friendships and work so hard to accomplish his goals. 

(He’s awfully friendly with all the girls.)

There’s the culmination of four years of homework, meetings, group projects, and games.

(I don’t trust him.)

I beam as he crosses the stage. 

(Wow. He’s going to that university? How did he get in?)

He works through college, falls in love and I watch him step into his own.

(I am sure he’s a good guy, but not good enough for my blue-eyed girl.) 

He is a joy to those who love him.

(It’s just a funny joke.)

He is strong and I can count on him. 

(If I saw him coming towards me at night, of course I would be worried.)

He works so hard at his job. 

(He got let go because he didn’t know his place.)

I am a proud mom.

(They are all the same.)

He will always be my baby boy. 

You don’t see what I see.

You don’t even try.

You can’t see clearly through racism.

The world sees only the color of his skin and the response to him is fear and brutality.

(He reached into his pocket.)

(He should not have been in that neighborhood.)

(He fought back. If he had just cooperated, it would have gone differently.)

My boy. 

The man who lives his life and makes the world a better place and you discount him, discredit him and act as though he is disposable. 

Because he is black.

Your desire is to snuff him out.

Because of the color of his skin. 

Your disdain is disgusting and abhorrent against people made in the image of God and yet you still believe you are defending your nation, your values, your neighborhood.

I am emboldened to be strong in spite of your grotesque excuses, jokes, and silence. 

See my boy for all that he is.

See his joy, see his worth, see the impact he makes in the world, see his complete humanity. 

See him. 

See past what you think you know, see past the biases that enshroud your heart and mind, unlock the chains that hold you to false narratives.

My boy isn’t safe in this world.

I need you to do this work. 

See my boy.

 

**Written with Siobhan Dunford

You’re never far

You’re never far

We might be five miles apart, 

next door, or 2500 miles away

from each other. 

But you’re never far. 

Distance can’t change 

what the heart holds. 

Distance can’t dilute 

our determination 

to care for one 

another well. 

We will find a way.

Distance cannot

weaken love.

It just doesn’t 

have that kind of power.

Distance only makes

us ache to be more present.

This can fuel how

we show up in 

our own homes 

and in our communities.

Don’t hide 

from what you feel –

dig deep, process your

thoughts to be able

to love and serve

those close and those

far away.

Otherwise, I am afraid

we risk not 

showing up at all and

we just can’t

afford that. 

#PermissionGranted

Not alone

Not alone

You’re not alone.

You’re not alone.

And if you are

convinced you are –

I’m there, too.

I may feel

raw,

unseen,

and

unsteady.

But friend,

I am not

alone.

You are weak from

bracing

against the

assault of the

relentless wind

but I need you to

shift your gaze.

Look up.

Look up.

I’m here.

I see you.

I see your heart

and you see mine.

No words required.

We

lock

arms.

We may be tired,

beaten down,

but we are

determined to

weather the storm.

You hold me up.

And then it’s my turn

to orient you.

You are never alone.

I’m right here.

#PermissionGranted

In the wrong

In the wrong

The greatest gift we can

give someone is

inviting them to be

fully themselves with us

and then cheering them on

as they pursue all

they are meant for.

We don’t all receive this gift. 

And this is why:

We withhold

permission from 

others to step 

into all that they are

made for

because it will 

personally cost us something. 

It sure doesn’t feel great

when this happens to me.

I feel defeated

and it is that much 

harder for me to 

take up my space.

I don’t appreciate when someone

denies what I see in me,

or tries to keep me small. 

And yet I put others through it –

the cost is too great, 

and we make excuses. 

And what happens then?

We are all miserable. 

All of us living out lies, 

all of us in the wrong.

We are either wrong for 

witholding permission 

or we are wrong for 

waiting for it. 

#PermissionGranted

Upon closer inspection

Upon closer inspection

If you look at my calendar

you would think it is a mess.

The same could be said for my car,

the basement, my desktop, and the laundry room.

My hope is that upon closer inspection,

you might be able to look past

the insanity, the yogurt splashes,

the boxes, the piles of shoes –

and see who I am.

The messes are messes, yes,

but there’s likely a reason they are there

and they don’t define who I am.

This is also true for my personality flaws –

and yours –

they are there for a reason,

but they don’t define

who we are.

I invite you to look past my flaws –

just as you would want me to

look past yours.

I also wish for you to help

me with my messes –

just because stubbornness

and a yogurt-splashed car

are a part of my life

doesn’t mean

I can’t make changes.

We are not forced to

stay in a mold

we can change,

morph,

grow

into people who pursue their best –

not just for their own sakes

but for the world around us.

Let’s give each other permission –

to be who we are,

right where we are…

but let’s also give permission

for others to speak

into the spaces where we

need to grow.

#PermissionGranted

 

 

 

The song of humanity.

The song of humanity.

The trees, the dolphins, and

the mountains call to me

and demand to be seen.

I can’t look away.

The bird’s song,

the breeze, tickling the trees,

the way a flower grows

from a teeny seed.

I can’t look away.

I see their creator in them.

His design, his joy,

his creativity is in the magenta flower,

the succulents, the manatee,

the neon tree frog, and the terrapins.

They sing a song over me and

I am compelled to sing with them.

I want to join the chorus.

What are the notes?

I don’t know their song.

What are the words?

How do I join them?

Humanity has a song, too.

I can hear it

when I listen.

The song is constant –

everyone taking a breath

at a different time.

Some scream to be heard.

Some sing into a void

where no one listens.

Some are making their

own stages.

It’s hard to listen to the song because there’s

so much to grieve,

so much hurt

and righteous anger

in the song.

So much so that sometimes I try to silence it.

Headphones on.

Head down.

Just make sure

all is well in my house –

that everyone under my roof

can sing.

But.

My song is the song of humanity.

My voice is meant to be

heard and it is meant to

amplify the song that

others are singing.

I can’t not listen to their song

and there’s no other song

for me to join in on.

I can’t look away.

They demand to be seen.

I can’t look away.

I see their creator in them.

His design, his joy,

his creativity is all

over us all.

My voice must add to

their song of long-awaited,

the-time-is-now

justice.

Otherwise,

I

am

just

noise .

#PermissionGranted