Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Dreaming peace


I came home from choir rehearsal last night to discover my husband watching breaking news of a suicide bomber at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, England. Twenty-two dead, fifty injured, so many of them children. Heartbreak upon heartbreak.

Last Saturday was a nonstop day: My daughter's boyfriend graduated from Cornell Tech with his MEng in the morning, we attended a reception afterward with his family, then I went off to perform one of our spring choir concerts at an assisted living home. In the evening, I again met up with the graduate and his family for dinner. Everyone was in a celebratory mood, so proud of our graduate's success.

But in between all that, as I was getting out of the cab at home after our choir concert, and heading to my apartment to change for dinner, I ran into my heart son, E, who lives one building over. Tall, slender, chocolate-skinned and classically handsome, this young man has no idea how beautiful and cherished he is, because he is dark-skinned in a culture that does not prize that, and he is Muslim in a world that assumes him to be a terrorist. He is profiled twice over.

On Saturday, he was wearing a kufi. This was new. He hugged me and then came upstairs to visit with my husband and me, his parent surrogates. My son calls this young man brother, as they have been friends since babyhood, and he grew up a good portion of the time in our home. We sat in the living room and talked about his choice to begin wearing a kufi, to publicly claim his faith, as hard as it was, because he knows how people will look at him, the things they will assume about him, despite the fact that my son calls him, "the most peaceful cat I know."

He, a kindergarten teacher studying for a masters in education, laughed at the notion that people might assume him violent. "They should see my in my classroom," he remarked ruefully. And then he said something that stopped me cold. "I just want to be able to walk through the world as a black man and as a Muslim and feel safe," he said. "If I can do that, and my future children can do that, then we will have achieved something."

Our poor battered world.


16 comments:

  1. Such a simple wish. It wasn't that long ago that I would have said, "Of course that time will come!"
    I wish I was so certain now.

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    1. Mary, a simple wish indeed. Somehow, I have faith that we will get past these times. There are many good people agitating for better, many conscious people who are helping to counter the negative energy in the world. There are many right in this place, yourself included. Thank you, friend.

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  2. I echo what Mary said. Poor battered world indeed.
    Xoxo
    Barbara

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    1. Barbara, but there are also people like you, with kind and good hearts, so I think we will get through this. xo

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  3. Sad world indeed when this has to even be thought about. Such a shame.

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    1. Joanne, his words left me speechless. I cannot imagine what it feels like to be in jeopardy just by walking out one's door, and yet this is how the world feels to him. I wanted to protect him so badly. He is such a tender soul. I confess I am still trying to figure out how to help him feel more safe.

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  4. I hope that he stays safe. He sounds like a wonderful young man.

    I love the new header..all my favourite colours!

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    1. Frances, thank you for seeing his goodness. He is that. xo

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  5. Tears in my eyes. I so hope he lives his dream. Sad that, like Mary, I too am uncertain of how much progress really has been made, something that even 10 years ago I would not have said. However, we have no choice; if we want a world where we ALL people have a reasonable expectation of safety and security, we have to fight on, because there isn't any going back.

    I love your blog. I rarely comment, but I never miss it. Another Mary :)

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    1. Dear Mary, i love when you comment here, mainly because i love knowing you're around. Thank you for this, especially for the resolve to press on. xo

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  6. Thank you for this post. May your heart son's vision, of the generations walking in safety, continue to live and breathe as fully and powerfully as the words he spoke to you.

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    1. am, his words were powerful, weren't they? thank you for taking them in. And thank you for being here. i hope you will pull up a chair. xo

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  7. One kind, calm thought at a time we can shift our world. At least I sure as hell hope so! Love and appreciation to you and yours :o)

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    1. Hannah, that is a beautiful idea, and I believe it to be true. We can only change the world by attending to ourselves, our own thoughts and actions toward others. Thanks for the reminder. I hope you're doing well.

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  8. The Manchester bombing was terrible. I am glad that our response as a country has been "Choose love. Choose life". They cannot break us: terrorists, fanatics, extremists. They cannot break us.

    Greetings from London.

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    1. My Cuban friend, we must indeed choose love. I am inspired by your citizens' response. We can learn so much from it.

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