Living in a small southern town is challenging all in itself. Add being a foreign transplant in an interracial family, and well, you can fill in the blank. While there are some perks, mainly personal safety, there is a growing list of items that have me second guessing whether raising my kids here is the best for them. I've thought about this topic and thought some more and I think I'm getting closer to narrowing down the root problem of it all. Jesus.
Living here the past ten years has made me realize there are two Jesuses. There is southern Jesus for the upper-middle class white Republicans. They belong to the good ole boys network who will help them secure well-paying jobs and avoid paying parking tickets, attend one of the big four churches, follow the old testament to the T, influence local politics to their benefit, have their kids' mates handpicked before inception, then when the kids arrive have them attend homogenous private schools because
Then there's Jesus for the rest of us. Those of us who work hard for what we have, believe that God is the God of all, know that there is a new testament past the Gospel of John, attend church because we are commanded to do so, help the less fortunate because it is the right thing to do, travel as much as we can afford to, can actually locate Israel on a map, and are friends with at least one person who is not our third cousin twice removed. Extra points if said friend speaks English as a second language.
Now don't get your panties in a twist! I know that not everyone falls neatly into one of the these two categories, but you get my point. There is such division here that some days it drives me crazy. I cry when I watch the news. I cry even harder when I read the comments under news articles. I find more often that I have to explain what should be big kid issues to my six and seven year olds, thereby robbing them of their childhood innocence, while Ashleigh and Camdyn will still believe in Santa when they're 10!
Yet there's hope that fills my soul. In fact, I attend one of the big four churches and have had a Minister say from the pulpit, "No matter what the law says, the Bible says we are to treat everyone like they are our brother." regarding the Mexican flight from Alabama. Every ball season I watch families from different backgrounds (and schools) come together to cheer each other on. I have also seen a older black woman and an older white woman (they must have been school-aged children when the Klan was alive and well here) hold hands during a cancer walk laughing and crying together. This is my Jesus. Sadly though, southern Jesus always returns.
Just typing this has been lethargic. And now that I've calmed down some, I can also admit this is not a problem just in the southern states. That in fact most of America, dare I say the world, is like this. So moving won't necessarily fix anything. I need to work on how I react to things and how I can prepare but not scare the hell out of my children. But most of all, I need to remember that my Jesus is Jesus. Period. And no matter how much division there is in this town or the world, my Jesus will help me to have unity in my heart and in my life.