19 November 2016

*deep, heavy sigh*

I'm still processing about this whole dumb election. Sorry, maybe I shouldn't call it dumb. I usually call things dumb when they make me feel things. But I gotta figure it out because there's still a lot of tension at our house and my kids are acting out more than usual.

So I wrote a Facebook post that got shared 32 times. Just sort of viral which is A-ok with me. The short version: "if you effing voted for him for other reasons, you effing better make a definite effort to fight racism, okay." I didn't actually cuss. It also got shared a couple times with the "this is my pastor's wife" tag which is...interesting. I wrote it while Roy was at a session meeting and he didn't know I was gonna do it. So I wrote it as a laywoman. I'm always on the fence between "sure, I'll take that platform" and "com'n dawg, I'm my own person."  In general I figure it's better for me to be my own person and give Roy deniability. *winky face*

The Friday after the election, I had already had a "run away" day [side note: I probably need to reframe that in a way that makes it normal for me to have a day off] planned. So I set off with some yarn, my african american poetry anthology, a journal, some cigarettes and tried to find some peace. The first thing I did was go to the cathedral basilica. It's a big ol' catholic church with a huge mosaic installation, mostly on the ceiling. (You can go to my twitter to find some pictures from there). I looked through the missal. I sat and thought about how the catholic church has been here since the beginning and has made tons of mistakes and, I mean, I'm a very happy protestant, not making any arguments here. But it's still here. One of the mosaics has the legend "blessed are those who hunger and thirst after justice." I cried a little; I prayed a little. I took a picture of their station for Mary for an online person I like. And y'all. While I was there, one of the immigrant girls from our youth group was there with her catholic school group. I didn't recognize her at first because I'd never seen her in a plaid skirt. So that was wacky in the best way.

[just to clarify: still a Presbyterian. Still hurting from the evangelical vote.] 

It's true, I've been doubting my church a lot. I mean, not our specific church at which my husband is employed. But the larger PCA and then the much bigger evangelical world--there's so many more Southern Baptists than I realize because I like my echo chamber to be Presbyterians and Leftists, not Baptists. I'd make a predestination joke but I can't remember the word I want to use--it's the one that goes with Augustinian. Pelagian, that's it. "Pelagians, who needs 'em!" (With apologies to my audience).

I don't know, I'm just so glad my oldest kid is only eight years old. If she were older (and/or less into Minecraft) I don't know...I just picture an Emily Raboteau novel-type situation. (Emily R wrote a novel that destroyed me and put me off lit-fic for years and years. Basically, a mixed-race family that ends up with the daughter leaving the family to live in Brazil and the black husband leaving the white wife for an African wife. and a son in a coma--I think he dies. Anyway, it's pretty much my worst nightmare in a book. Really powerful.) I have pretty strong convictions about infant baptism. And I love the PCA. Or I used to? The PCA was started the same year my oldest brother was born. Our family has been with it for almost the same amount of time. It's nurtured me, and thanks to my campus minister, woke up my social consciousness. If my daughter wanted to leave the little-c church that has been so good to me because she wants to be in a place that affirms her humanity, I mean. "Okay sis. I'll talk to daddy about resigning." It would hurt a lot to do that. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't understand. And I would still push for a church that wouldn't make me and the kids get baptized again. And I'd still teach them the catechism and the WCF (okay so I'd just think about it a couple times a year but whatever). Good doctrine is great but if your "orthodoxy" doesn't affirm my kids' humanity? I don't really wanna be there. I'm thankful for our current St Louis bubble but if my kids ever want to pop the bubble, I gotta go with them. [WOULD OBVIOUSLY DISCLAIM THESE ARE THE THOUGHTS OF AN INDIVIDUAL AND NOT MY HUSBAND'S--and he can do what he wants and I'll go with him, too]

Jemar's thoughts here are great. 

Relatedly, I'm really thinking a lot about joy and white supremacy/terrorism. There have been incidents of racial hatred in the greater St Louis area. Or I mean, The greater St Louis area has had incidents of racial hatred. My professor friend at SIUE has said there's been lots on her campus. But I guess that whole "dangerous urban life" thing is paying off because we don't have a lot of Trump voters in our geographical life. I think 80% (hahaha) of St Louis voted for Hillary. In our ward 2826 folks voted for Hillary, 302 for the other. So there's that. I realize I'm a straight white lady, and I'm fine by myself but I'm a straight white lady whose heart is connected to five brown people via a relationship that's particularly repugnant to white supremacists so...yeah.

Anyway, we went into the county on Thursday because I needed more yarn (I've only been crocheting since spring break of last year but apparently it's already a coping thing) and we had to go to Costco. We went after school, so the kids were all wound up and not staying by me. And I was nervous the whole time. Usually I can skate around on their cuteness, but the boys just got haircuts with linings that emphasizes their Blackness, and 8yo's teacher has been fixing her hair with twists and they weren't staying by me and being quiet--6yo was basically dancing through the aisles, not looking where he was going... and I was an absolute mess. I couldn't remember everything on my list or make good decisions about what to get (Fresh bratwurst? really?) I didn't want to saddle the kids with all my own fears so I didn't say "please don't make anyone have any reason to talk to or about you." But man I wanted to. And I realize I'm probably being maybe a little unfair to the Costco patrons some of whom looked at my rowdy kids disapprovingly but none of whom said anything, but that's the thing about racism, right? It distracts you. I mean, here's [part of] the Toni Morrison quote: "The function, the very serious function of racism is distraction. It keeps you from doing your work." I let my fear get into my head and the white supremacists won because I forgot to get chips and creamer and I'm going to have to go back today. So anyway, now to learn how to live with the right amount of caution, but not be ruled by fear, and to let my kids have all the joy and space to run around and be their own made-in-the-image-of-God selves. And Roy, too. But he's been living in this a lot longer than I have. *insert white wokeness joke here*

I don't have any positive next steps figured out yet. I didn't call my senators (sorry). I don't know if I have a sphere of influence that goes much farther than my kids. I'm honestly kinda scared that my place to go is to be the white lady who talks to white ladies who might not listen to black ladies which puts me in a weird place because I have found a pretty specific group of people I want affirmation from and it's not the white ladies. Okay, I'd probably take affirmation from anybody but I really want the group the rest of my family is in to want me, too. Please give me all the cookies.

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