Standing, kneeling, let them know us by our love

Are we really going to let standing or kneeling divide us as Americans?

 

Can we listen deeply to the wounds of others? Or will we believe our own narrative, project our own bias (disrespect for flag, country, military, paying fans, etc.)?

Confession: I rarely watch football, but at first I was mad as a bat out of hell when I heard about players, to whom children look up, refusing to stand during the National Anthem. I secretly wished each of them a “spanking mama” like mine who would meet them, hand to bare butt, in that locker room. I wondered why those players aren’t scared of their mamas. I’m 52. I’m still scared of mine.

Listen. I’m going to stand up, as long as I can, as straight as I can, with hand over heart and face toward the U.S. flag during the National Anthem. Most of us embrace the opportunity to stand together in gratitude for all that we have and with earnest hope for more progress toward the ideal.

After recognizing my own privilege and putting down my bias and judgment, I came to a clearing where I can simultaneously respect players and others whose pain has brought them to their knees during our National Anthem. I feel thankful for a peaceful protest amidst a growing culture of violent protests, rooted in rage and violence.

Hate is a heavy load. Listening to understand can set us free. Preaching to myself.

Why are the kneelers saying they took a knee? I’m now listening to their hearts, no longer to my own narrative or anyone else’s. Deep listening is sacred hospitality.

I join the kneelers to protest discrimination. To pray for liberty and justice for all of us, not some of us (caveat: on my feet, without apology, during the anthem).

Compassion is a blessing – an equal dose for the healer and for the wounded. After cooling my own flames, I now see and hear the invitation to prayer.

Our president labeled kneelers “sons of b——-s” who “should be fired.” God tells us that we are hired. Only He defines us.

Our president can choose his own words. Just as we can choose our stance during the anthem. Trump’s words may be an attempt to diminish us, fire us and divide us with his appalling rhetoric. But he won’t prevail.

If Trump is attempting something else, pardon me; it’s over my head.

Grace gets the last at-bat. Love wins. Touchdown.

Let’s focus on the goal. Most of us want the same thing: Peace. Standing or kneeling.

When we allow any person or thing to turn our disappointment into anger, and then for it to snowball into rage, perhaps we need to consider how we’ve allowed events, people or things to have too much power over us.

Love is the common denominator of all people. Love is the longing of all people. Maybe we could consider how standing or kneeling are different pathways to Love, the god of all of us.

There is a “humanitarian crisis” in Puerto Rico with help trickling in to save fellow Americans. Kneeling or standing, we can all contribute. Victims of a devastating hurricane won’t care if we are kneelers or standers.

They will know us by our Love.

Meredith Stiff

Augusta

 

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