Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. – MLK
Amidst the noisy stream of my business’ Facebook feed (I am in charge of our posts so I HAVE to look at it), the above powerful, yet quiet quote made my scrolling come to a stop. My glazed eyes focused on that one simple sentence.
There are many reasons it spoke to me at this point in my life. There are a lot of steps being taken; rapidly and sure-footedly I am racing up the staircase, breath-full rather than breath-less.
Coincidentally, or not, Martin Luther King, Jr. has been woven into my last few weeks of installing an exhibition in our gallery. It commemorates the 50th anniversary of his I Have A Dream speech given at the march on Washington, August 28th, 1963. I have learned more about the civil rights movement putting together this exhibition than I ever knew. I’m embarassed by what I didn’t know, but am now proud about what I do know. My hope is that others experiencing the exhibition will learn even a little something new about the (non-violent and violent) FIGHT for civil rights in the United States.
And then the Trayvon Martin trial came to a conclusion. And while it MAY be true that George Zimmerman shot Trayvon in self-defense, Zimmerman also profiled Martin – racially profiled him, which is why he was even interested in him in the first place – and then provoked him into an attack, based on everything I’ve read about the case. Zimmerman was told by the police dispatch NOT to follow him and he did. Why? Zimmerman’s Facebook page was full of racial slurs and so much anger. Anger that awarded him arrests for domestic violence, assaulting a police officer, etc etc. Anger. Hate.
It made me aware of my own racial profiling. If I see a black man coming toward me on the street at night and I’m alone, my reaction is different than if it is a white man. I do it. Most of us do it. The whole event made me sad. That death did not need to happen. No one wins.
My son-in-law-to-be is black. He is 6′ 5″ tall and happens to be the one of the sweetest men I’ve ever met, which is a blessing, because he is marrying my darling daughter in just about 3 weeks. He makes me more conscious of race, he makes me think about it, and he also just IS and I don’t see a skin color at all. I thought of him a lot this past week and remembered some of the stories he has told me about his own experiences with racial profiling and it made me anxious. It made me anxious for him, it made me anxious that there is so much hate out there in the world, it made me anxious for the grand girl-child that will come soon, who will be of mixed race.
How to diffuse that anxiety? Well, I keep on running up the staircase, because I have faith in humans. I have faith that the people who inhabit my world, who live on the same frequency as me (and if they didn’t they wouldn’t be in my life or I in theirs), are inherently good people, kind, giving, loving people who share that with the people in their lives and that it DOES make a difference, it DOES ripple out into the world making it better. I don’t need to see the staircase ahead to know that this next step, the step of a new baby, whatever her skin color will be, is the RIGHT one. That she will be welcomed into the world that has been made by all of us, especially her parents; a world that is oh, so loving and kind. I have a thousand percent faith in that.
Almost a year ago now, I took some steps of my own up a new and beautiful staircase, not quietly led by my heart, but jubilantly shoved by it and the universe in general. Every unseen step has been right. RIGHT. Every step has illuminated something deep, wondrous, and meaningful about about him, about me, about humans, about love, about fate, about life. I have never cared that I can’t see the staircase ahead of the two of us; I’ve never even thought about it. I have faith. WE have faith as we take this next step together.
I’ll end this post the way it began.
FAITH IS TAKING THE FIRST STEP EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T SEE THE WHOLE STAIRCASE. – MLK