Friday, October 7, 2016

The Pain of My Past

Our upcoming Fatherheart school (www.fatherheart.net) is being held on a plantation in SC that was once owned by one of the largest slave owners in the state of South Carolina. While my heart isn't healed enough to actually PAY to stay at a place that once enslaved my ancestors and profited from their labor and their breeding, I have been praying in to being on the grounds each day for hours at a time and what that means for me, for my ancestors.

I have a HUGE burden in my heart for generational alignment and restoration. Honestly, I am not even sure what that entails but its brewing deep within. So many parts of our history are both brutal and beautiful. Things that seem so insignificant and minute affect us at a cellular level.

I think a lot about my ancestors hundreds of generations back. What would they want us to know today? What would they say about those times over a cup of shared chicory? How do I honor the atrocities they endured with my life today? ...I don't want to hate. I don't want to be bitter. But, I also don't want to be in denial of their fight or their pain. My pain.

During my morning meditation, I heard so clearly 2 Corinthians 5:9, "God(Father) was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them." At first, as I was releasing those held trespasses downstream into the river of forgiveness, I thought I was letting go of the past - what was horrifically done to my ancestors. Then Holy Spirit said very gently, "Free them too. Beloved this is not their fight. Let them go." And I realized, I was still holding blame and allegiance in my hand. My heart was still wanting to shake all the folk that just don't get it. So I slowly, with a LOT of effort, uncurled my fist and let all of these imaginary people that I really want to shake...go. I let them all float downstream. All my shadow figures I was carrying on my back from my past, my ancestor's past. All the people who ever committed an injustice against another human because of the color of their skin AND all of the people who see it and say nothing AND those who aren't even willing to acknowledge that there is just cause for being upset about the present narrative. All of the people I want so desperately to see what I see, but even more accurately, see it JUST like I see it.

We all have a fight. A cause. A passion. It's okay that the things we're fighting for are not the same. It really is okay.

Having said that, it is time for us to change the narrative. It is time for honest, brave conversations. And the first conversation must begin within. For me, when I was honest with myself, I realized that if I keep blaming someone in the present for something someone else did in the past, all I will ever see is blame. All I will ever feel is mad. I don't want to be dumb or numb. I don't want to sleepwalk through this crucial time in our history. I want to show up every day with my heart wide open to love.

At the end of my mindfulness meditation, this was my resolution: The worse possible take away from tragedy is to act like tragedy never happened. So, I will walk the grounds and halls of that plantation holding my ancestors in my heart, remembering their blood shed, the lashes on their backs, the ropes burning into their skin as they swung from those great trees. I'll remember their bloody fingers from picking cotton and their sore backs. I'll remember their robbed virtue and raped bodies. Eyes wide open to the pain and injustice of their existence from greed.

And, I'll embrace today willing to see it differently. I will embrace today with hope and love, believing the best about our future, humanity's future. With my heart wide open, I will pursue reconciliation not counting the trespasses of the past against my friends of today. If low expectations is our country's greatest wound, then believing the best about others is the way we heal. I'm going to a plantation where my ancestors once lived with my heart bearing love and my feet carrying healing.

6 comments:

  1. Some months back I had an older African American gentleman in my SOZO chair. I could tell this was more his wife's idea than his, but he was willing and open to whatever God wanted to do. Near the end of our session I heard the Holy Spirit tell me to ask him to forgive the white men that have mistreated him in his life. This was a bit awkward for me and I wasn't sure how he would recieve what I was saying. But then it got even more awkward, HS told me to ask him to forgive all the white men going back generations that mistreated his ancestors. I was well aware of the fact that some of my ancestors may very well have been some of the ones who mistreated his ancestors. He had no problem with what I was asking of him and it was healing for both of us. Forgiveness doesn't mean what happened is okay. It means I am no longer going to carry the weight of the burden of injustice. It is a heavy load. The injustice is still there but by saying I forgive frees me of the reponsibility to make right a wrong. We can still call it what it is, but love always trumps injustice and freedom starts with forgivness. Where I think it is beautiful that you walk the grounds of plantantion and remember those who suffered and died at the hands slavery, I believe what they would say to you if they could speak is, be free. Don't let the burden of their injust keep you from being totally and completely free to be you!!!!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this. I'm reminded of something Bryan Stevenson often says and that is "You have to tell the truth before you can get to reconciliation." I am completely free, but my freedom comes at a great price which I honor and hold dear. I think we've made that price so palatable to stem feelings of guilt and shame that detract from empathy. It is because of my freedom that I remember. Appreciate your thoughts. ❤️

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  2. Sometimes I struggle with my freedom from the weight of our history. Not because I'm not, but because I am. I look around at our present culture in and out of the church and see those who are still weighted down from bondages or injustices of our ancestors. The atrocities to our forefathers were designed to be generational from a people who did not have or know the true love of God and a spirt from the enemy of our souls.
    Just like today, it's not fair, nor can I, require someone from another country to uphold the laws of this country. With that being said, I cannot expect or require someone who does not live for Christ love like Him - impossible. Years ago, I had to ask the Holy Spirit to help and teach me to release injustices of all kinds. God didn't design our hearts and emotions to haul such loads.
    My freedom in this area has caused many to say that I don't care. Oh, but I do. I just care more about remaining free. I really believe that those whom the Son has set free are free indeed. This is not capsuled to a period of time or an event. It's PERIOD! I will guard this freedom.
    In closing, because I too am long-winded, every action, issue, decision, attack, or injustice is stemmed from our spiritual hearts. It's all a heart issue. David told us to pray that the king's heart to be changed. Let's continue to ask the Holy Spirit to change our hearts then that's when and where our chains are truly broken and we experience the freedom of God.

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    1. Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. Amen.

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