Honestly, I don’t know what to do with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It’s not my day to claim.
The struggle of my black sisters and brothers is not mine and yet, I am connected to it. My skin is white. My benefits are great. And even though the privilege of a white woman isn’t perfect, it’s still pretty darn good.
I can drive in rich neighborhoods without worrying who will pull me over if I’m driving four miles over the speed limit, walk in department stores without much thought to who is watching me and apply to jobs knowing that my resume will at least get a glace. So the struggles that King mentioned aren’t about me or people who look like me.
So, what is this day about?
Right now to me this is the day I step aside to learn and to listen. It’s the day when I listen deeply to the deep pain of my friends. It’s the day when I examine my times of “whitesplaining,” of the times I didn’t speak up and the times I worried more about what others thought of me instead of the hard journey of those who continue to struggle. And then I offer a prayer of reconciliation to God my parent and my sisters and brothers of color.
This is the day I examine how I can become a better leader, how I can learn from the example of Dr. King the Prophet and live boldly as I continue to carry the light of Christ into the world.
This is the day I think about the ways I can push the shadows in the world aside and shine more light. This is the day when I reflect on how to love more and use that love to erase the growing hate in our communities.
This is the day when I speak to and with those who are privileged as we share ways for us to be better allies. This is the day when I recommit to the covenant of the complete body of Christ knowing that a good portion of the body is disregarded by other parts. And this is the day when I send light and love to my sisters and brothers of color as they continue their march to true equality.
I still don’t fully know what to do with this day. All I can do is walk humbly with my God and my neighbors and hope I can do better this coming year.
One year from now I will probably be reading this and think that I had so much more to learn. This is a work in progress and I’m open to your thoughts.