It was a beautiful Sunday morning in May when my Pastor spoke a message on segregation. Of course, I’m always listening 100% of the time, right? I have no trouble staying focused, wrong. As important as the message was, I found myself only half listening, wrapped up in my own thoughts. That was, until I heard my Pastor crying over segregation. He told a story that took place in Memphis in the 1960’s, a story about a group of young adults that were not allowed into church because of the color of their skin. My heart sunk. “Is segregation truly a thing of the past? How could this have taken place such a short time ago? Even still today?” These were the thoughts going through my mind.
I sat there, now ears fixed on his next words but there were no immediate words spoken – only a strong silence that swept the sanctuary, one that you could feel, one that left, even me, speechless. In that moment, I understood my biggest problem, the lack of silence in my world, in my mind. The kind that forces you to listen rather than to speak. The thing is, I always have something to say. Yet sometimes, the most powerful things we learn are not words coming from our own lips but the sounds of a cry coming from another. I see so much on the news, on social media, and have such strong opinions on these hot topics, at times, becoming part of the Christian blindness I try so hard to fight against. Thinking, “This isn’t my problem, I’m not racist, it bothers me when I see and hear about segregation.” Not realizing, doing nothing yet always having something to say is part of the problem.
Speaking first and only half listening when my ears and heart should be open to the ones who are crying inside to be heard. I learned a valuable lesson that morning, for me to be open to learn from others and initiate true change, I must first, be silent.