Today I was reminded of a poem I was introduced to at a conference I attended this summer. It has such strength, such legitimacy. To the point where it makes me a little bit uncomfortable. It gives voices to those we judge without knowing their names. People we assume we have all figured out.
"My name is not "Those People".
I am a loving woman, a mother in pain,
Giving birth to the future, where my babies
Have the same chance to thrive as anyone...
My name is not "Problem and Case to Be Managed".
I am a capable human being and citizen, not just a client.
The social service system can never replace
the compassion and concern of loving grandparents, aunts,
uncles, fathers, cousins, community -
all the bonded people who need to be
But are not present to bring children forward to their potential...
My name is not "Lay Down and Die Quietly".
My love is powerful, and the urge to keep my children alive will never stop.
All children need homes and people who love them.
All children need safety
And the chance to be the people they were born to be.
The wind will stop before I allow my sons to become a statistic.
Before you give in to the urge to blame me,
the blames that lets us go blind and unknowing
into the isolation that disconnects
your humanity from mine,
Take another look. Don't go away.
For I am not the problem, but the solution.
And...my name is not "Those People."
-My Name Is Not Those People, by Julia Dinsmore-
This small excerpt from a strong poem reminds me that humility is required for the life I desire to live. Without it, I so easily see differences instead of similarities. I feel distance as opposed to solidarity. I can so easily fall into wanting to sit high above real life and look down. And I forget humility. But it is a necessity. It requires that I look people in the eye, see them as equals, and realize their individual pain, beauty, and strengths. So it is my choice. To put names to faces, make myself a listener, and seek after unity.
"Take another look. Don't go away.
For I am not the problem, but the solution."
"But He's already made it plain how to live, what to do,
what God is looking for in men and women.
It's quite simple: Do what is fair and just to your neighbor,
be compassionate and loyal in your love,
And don't take yourself too seriously-- take God seriously."
Micah 6:8, The Message