Tag Archives: beverly unitarian church

Three Little Words

12 Sep

It’s past 2 am on a Friday night (Saturday morning?). I should be in bed, asleep. But I can’t. It’s not Kenny’s snoring (although that’s partly the reason). It’s not the caffeinated water I mistakenly drank before bedtime (although that might be a contributing factor). No, it’s something else that’s keeping me up tonight, and has been for a while. It’s endless thoughts on the power of language, of words, of three little words in particular that have ignited a firestorm here in my community and in my heart.

Three words that, on their own and without any context, should be self-explanatory and non-controversial.

Three words that have brought hate and harm to the people I love.

Three words that I completely agree with.

Black. Lives. Matter.

If you’re already firing off any angry comment or unfriending me, I’m guessing you wouldn’t listen to the rest of what I have to say anyway. But I urge you to hold off, stick around, read a bit, and just listen.

It’s been explained before, many times, and by people a lot more eloquent than I. The New York Times and, surprisingly, Cosmo, have the best, clearest articles I could find.

I thought this was a straightforward thing. It’s simple – Black Lives Matter. It’s not that white lives, or brown lives, or any other kinds of lives don’t matter. And by saying it, I’m not saying I don’t support or even love the police officers in my family or in my community. Due to my job, I work with a LOT of cops. And I love them. They have an incredibly hard, often thankless, job.

All I’m trying to say when I say Black Lives Matter is just that: Black. Lives. Matter.

So, if you pay attention to the news in Chicago, you can imagine how this week has been for me.

Small explanation: I am a resident of two worlds. I am a member of St. Linus parish and the proud parent of a fourth-grade Hawk. I try to make it to mass as often as I can, and usually every Sunday. But I also, until recently, proudly served on the Board of the Beverly Unitarian Church. I try to take Daniel to the Sunday School there as often as I can. I was raised in both worlds, and I think it’s good for him to be exposed to both, too.

Sadly, too many time commitments and my desire to commit more fully to St. Linus caused me to resign my membership on the BUC board, so I missed the discussion and the decision to place those three little words on our church’s electronic sign.

But I did get to witness the firestorm of criticism and hate that erupted online. Before they were deleted, I saw threats made against our children. That would, by definition, include my son.

Think about the insanity of that for a second. My child’s life has been threatened because of three simple words on an electronic sign. The hate, the misinformation has spread so far and runs so deep that my son, and other innocent children, are threatened because they attend Sunday School at a church that had three words on its electronic sign for less than a week. Words that were meant to be a sign of solidarity, of support, of inclusion, have instead drawn ire and threats of violence. I’ve seen people characterize participants in the black lives matter movement as ‘thugs.’ Who’s the real thug here: the suburban mom trying to raise her child with diversity and an open mind, or those who threaten to harm that child over words on a sign?

Three words: I am sad.

Three words: I am angry.

Four words: How can I help?

Four words: What can I do?

I recognize that I come from a position of privilege. That my struggle is, in the larger picture, insignificant. But I struggle for meaning, for change, for something positive to contribute.

And all I have to give are words.

Three words: Black Lives Matter.

Two words: I’m listening.

One word: Love.

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