Uncomfortable: in a state of discomfort; uneasy; conscious of stress or strain.
Right now I am very uncomfortable. Uncomfortable because I don’t feel welcomed by a hometown I love. Uncomfortable because some in power seem to not care to hear the truth.
I don’t like it.
I am uncomfortable because the people I love and respect don’t want to hear the truth. I cannot seem to convince everyone of the truth. Those I stand with are drowned out by false chants.
I have not felt this type of discomfort. It sits heavy and is almost suffocating.
In being uncomfortable, the same questions from Langston Hughes’ poem Harlem emerge:
Will I “dry up like a raisin in the sun?” Or, will I “crust and sugar over like a syrupy sweet”? Does it “just sag like a heavy load”? “Or does it explode?”
I have read this poem many times, my Mom quotes it often, but now I can feel it.
It does weigh on me like a heavy load. It feels like cotton in my throat. It weighs heavier than a ten pound vest on a two mile run.
This is my hometown full of people I love. I hate to feel unwelcome in a place where my Grandma and loved ones are buried and where my parents met.
Where I had classmates that encouraged me to run for president. Where I had teachers expose me to To Kill a Mockingbird. Where I played in the pews of Mars Hill. Where I was part of the team that played the first playoff game in the then-new football field.
Does it explode? Well, I feel like I might. It is an overwhelming feeling to feel unwelcome. It is an overwhelming feeling to want better for a town and have some vehemently deny it. It is an overwhelming feeling to find and share the truth and see it dismissed. It is an overwhelming feeling to enter a place and experience your once favorite teacher walk by and ignore your presence. All because of a disagreement…or is it just a disagreement?
It has become a constant, conscious strain on my mind.
I do not want to explode.
I am trying to pursue the right thing and expose the truth but it seems to only encourage those to push me further outside the town. My town, where I love.
They say truth wins out but I’m sitting here looking around because it sure is taking a really long time.
These questions and my feelings of discomfort remind me why there is only one Martin Luther King, Jr., one Pastor James Reeb, one Malcolm X ,one Jane Goodall, one Medagard Evers, one Shirley Chisholm, one John Lewis, one Pastor C.T. Vivian, and one Coretta Scott King.
They stayed courageously concerned and inspire me to hold on and do the same.
I am uncomfortable but I am more concerned about the larger system that created another system that emboldens people to spew hate because of a symbol.
I am courageously concerned enough that I’m “not going to throw away my shot”…
My prayer today is to be filled with the same faith that empowered Moses to believe in God enough to courageously step into the Red Sea. To be like David and take what I have and courageously step before the Goliath in front of me. To be like Solomon and courageously seek God for the type of wisdom that will lead me (and us all) to make the best decisions. My prayer is to be filled with faith in God and that I embody the ultimate courage of Jesus Christ.