Maybe the ‘reckoning’ should start in the hold of the slave ships bringing human cargo to our shores for sale on the auction block. These African men and women lived proudly with dignity in their native land. They were mothers and fathers, members of communities skilled in hunting or homemaking, swept away by the distant European settlers for greed and profit, stacked one atop the other for the weeks’ long voyage to the Americas. Many died encrusted in their own excrement. Can we just for even a moment try to imagine that? Probably not.
“It was a community of sorts, yet each person lay in their own chrysalis of human waste and anxiety. More often than not, these Africans were strangers to each other by virtue of language, culture, and tribe. Although the names of their deities differed, they shared a common belief in the seen and unseen. The journey was a rite of passage of sorts that stripped captives of their personal control over the situation and forced them to turn to the spirit realm for relief and guidance. . . .” Richard Rohr
What they shared in common was the sound of the moan….
“it was the language of stolen strangers, the sound of unspeakable fears…”
We – the whites, the majority, the privileged, the controllers, the unconcerned, the favored ones in the eyes of our white God – must reckon within our collective soul the unspeakable actions toward others and moan in unison with the oppressed brothers and sisters of our nation. The black and brown communities, the Muslims, the LGBTQ+, the Native Americans, the poor, the throw-away and homeless – they all need to be sitting in our midst telling their stories. And rather than more platitudes and promises to do better in the future, WE need to listen with searching minds and moaning penitent hearts. Healing has to start within each one of us.