This Means War

9 03 2017

I have been wrestling with something lately and I couldn’t put my finger on the word until today. It was a few things all in a row that lifted it to the surface. Its not a new pain; its an ongoing thing and I have a soul sadness over it that I know will never go away, not in this life.

I watched the movie “Hidden Figures” recently. Such a great and inspiring movie but I walked away feeling low. It is shameful that the stories about these amazing and gifted ladies happened the way they happened. The line in the movie that got me was, of course, when Mrs. Mitchell (who is white) does her best to seem empathetic to what the African-American women were going through. She says,

Mrs. Mitchell: Dorothy, despite what you might think, I have nothing against y’all.
Dorothy: I know. I know you believe that.

That line…that line is just so loaded with meaning.

The sadness for me is that no matter how hard the races try to “not have anything against one another” there is so much material from the past that can never be rewritten, never be undone, never be excused, never atoned for…not truly. And it is not just in the past — that is the worst thing — it isn’t really changing. It might change in one area but it is like when you poke the stuffing back into a pillow and it bulges out of a tear somewhere else. Sorry to be pessimistic. There is so much that a person “of colour* has has walked through and will continue to walk through that I don’t even know how it can be mended. (*About that term “of colour” — really so ridiculous that this is even a description of a human being. A “person of colour”, what does that even mean? It implies there is a colourless race and then all the rest…a whole other set of human beings like there are only two categories. That term perpetuates the problem).

I walked out of that movie longing to be right with my fellow human beings of all shades — without the barriers we have created because of our sin. I wish we could just purely enjoy one another and live with one another without underlying judgements or any evil sense of superiority or inferiority.

But we left the path so long ago. We have not loved what God has loved and so the “colourless” and the “coloured” are at…here is the word: war.

A long time ago a group of people landed on the shores of what would later be called Canada and they took it. They didn’t ask for it, they just took it. If that wasn’t bad enough, they elevated themselves to believe that they were more human than those already present on the property. From there it was just a massacre in every way. If murder was not enough, for those who remained they squeezed the culture almost totally out of its original inhabitants. They tried to refashion them in their own likeness so that even the “Aboriginal” people could barely recognize themselves. The conquerors told them, “sit here and don’t move,” giving them what they thought would be an adequate life for an lesser people, and they had the audacity to think they were helping. They even gave them a misrepresentation of a Saviour to follow which was possibly the most damaging thing of all.

And so we have lived separate lives. We have crossed paths in recent years. We have forged friendships — but friendships? Some people work really hard at it, and even that tells a story. Why do we have to work so hard at something that should be just natural? Its uneasy. There is still a them and us. One group meets here. One group meets there. There is still so much suspicion and division. The recovery is slow, so very slow…and I am not sure if  there can ever be an end to the war with this nation and its First Nation with so much left unsaid and so much left undone.

This gives me such an ache. God, I wish we could turn back the hands of time so that we could love each other the way You always have. He says, “I know, I warned you.”

And then yesterday was International Women’s Day. I love who woman are when they live out their calling confidently! I love seeing that person,  fashioned by our Creator, doing things she couldn’t imagine herself capable of — whatever it is! I love her spice and her courage and voice and her humour and her contribution whether she is reserved or all out there. I love when she just does what she does and has the room to do so.

But yesterday, it couldn’t be ignored, there was a Woman’s Day because there is enmity between women and men. Sophie Grégoire Trudeau posted on Instagram a photo of herself and her husband, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, celebrating on Women’s Day the men who celebrate Women’s Day too. And she heard about it! It was not the time (many felt), it was not the place to even mention men in the equation because there are too many women who are not free, who face male-imposed barriers and ceilings and rules and economic disparity. There are too many closed doors and too much demeaning behaviour, and there is too much conflict at each difficult step forward for women all over the world.

The point of this post is just to say — we are fighting. Men and Women are at each other and this was not the original idea either. We were supposed to be boosting each other up, helping each other over the wall, challenging one another with different viewpoints, strengthening the other when weariness set in, and yet…and yet…we are at war with one another.

In the “old days” those of faith spoke and sang of heaven more. Weary bodies with hopeful voices, looking forward to something better than this. Wealth and credit have fooled us into thinking this can be paradise, but it’s not. It certainly is not, because we are at war. We keep striving to fix things — it is a noble effort (not always noble, but many do so with good hearts) but as long as we have selfishness and greed and a damaged view of one another…how far can we take this?

Isaiah 2:4

He will judge between the nations and will settle disputes for many peoples. They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.

— Teresa Klassen