"Just ignore it."
One philosophy regularly acted upon at my house is: If something is wrong/broken/needs attention, ignore it and maybe the problem will go away. And if the problem doesn't go away, then at least the initial realization of the problem will pass far enough back into time that a person's bringing the issue up again can be dismissed with, "Seriously, is this even still an issue?" - or - "Are you really going to bring that up again?"
If the problem persists, strategy shifts from ignoring or delaying, to outright denial ("I had no idea - or - Why didn't you say something sooner?"), and then often into over-the-top dramatics.
A friend posted this meme on Facebook this morning:
Saying the problem is not a problem does not fix the problem. Ignoring the problem for days, weeks, years, and then responding with dismissive or belittling comments when it resurfaces (it will resurface), that does not fix the problem, either. Making up fairy tales inside your head about how you didn't know there was a problem, or how you've been busy fixing the problem, or about how you are obviously the victim of some demonic conspiracy, that doesn't help anything, either.
So, yeah - that meme. Not a particularly great start to my day today. Skipping details, I just want to point out: problems don't go away because you refuse to talk about them, and I've got a load of hurt and anger that I am getting pretty tired of pretending is not a problem.
I went outside and weeded around the flowers, caught my breath, calmed down. Remembered essential things that I know are true.
And then, this...
This is a picture of a Batavia lettuce that my son Reuben grew. Reuben growing beautiful lettuce makes me believe that - despite my personal weariness - there is still much in this world that is very good.
"One of the the deepest and strangest of all human moods is the mood which will suddenly strike us perhaps in a garden at night, or deep in sloping meadows, the feeling that every flower and leaf has just uttered something stupendously direct and important, and that we have by a prodigy of imbecility not heard or understood it. There is a certain poetic value, and that a genuine one, in this sense of having missed the full meaning of things. There is beauty, not only in wisdom, but in this dazed and dramatic ignorance." - G.K. Chesterton: Robert Browning, Chap. VI - Browning as a Literary Artist (1903)
Often, we miss it. But then, on a very rare occasion, Batavia lettuce speaks something stupendously important with such clarity, speaks so emphatically, that it is heard even through my "prodigy of imbecility."
* * * * *
On another, unrelated note (but not entirely unrelated, of course)...
According to the article linked above: "The PCA considered a specific apology when the issue was first raised at its annual meeting last year, but decided after nine hours of debate to defer it in order to perfect the language, allow for specific examples for repentance, and give churches time to study the PCA's complicity. The goal: a more 'heartfelt and accurate' repentance." As PCA pastor Lane Keister put it, "You can't get an entire denomination to fully repent on a dime."
Wy Plummer, who coordinates the PCA's African American ministries, told Christianity Today that if the resolution had passed right away last year, "we would have gone to sleep again on issues of race."
(Note: I understand the difference between individual sin/individual repentance - and - corporate sin/corporate repentance. Scripture addresses both, and it is clear that, as believers, we need to be practicing both.)
In the year between the apology proposed at last year's General Assembly and the apology adopted at this year's General Assembly, my own little congregation, as far as I know, has not studied "the PCA's complicity" or "specific examples of repentance" or done anything else specifically related to this issue.
Still, I am humbly grateful for my denomination's official public apology.
In response to my excitement when I read the above article, one of my kids said, "Why is this such a big deal?!" His attitude was: "I am not a racist. Racism is not a problem. Why can't folks just get over it and move on?"
Racism is not a problem today - not in America. Not in the PCA. Not in my home. Obviously. That's why the issue of racism just keeps coming up, over and over and over. Right?
(Saying the problem is not a problem does not fix the problem. See meme above.)
My day began with tears; several hours into this day, I am encouraged and I have renewed hope.
Reuben is growing beautiful lettuce, and God's people are moved to repentance.