Living in the suburbs of an American city in an American state in this country of America, it's easy to forget what privilege and rights and freedom can actually mean.
I heard a story on my drive in to work recently that really brought some perspective to my life and my choices and my privilege.
The story comes from Bangladesh - where reporters and publishers and bloggers who defend LGBT rights are being savagely murdered.
I've written about my feelings on LGBT rights. I've written a lot about my liberal heart, my desire for social justice, my beliefs in equality and love and kindness.
And I do not fear that some terrorist group is going to break into my home and hack me to death because of the things I write.
I'm not saying that anyone who writes something in the United States is free from criticism or trolls or even death threats - that does happen. But the reality of someone being hacked to death because of their work... isn't really a fear most in the U.S. face. It's one thing to choose a career where you put your life on the line - like being a police officer or in the military. But someone who writes opinions, thoughts, articles? No one expects a writer to be choosing to put their life on the line for their readers.
We live in a country of privilege. I blog whenever I feel like I have something to say. I don't think about or worry about what I'm going to write or how it will be taken or who is going to come after me. I just write.
I write about my faith. My politics. My kids. I write about dog treats and swim lessons. I write about stress and about joy.
And no one is going to break down my door and slaughter me for it.
All too often, the world feels really heavy lately. There is so much bad stuff going on that it is a greater and greater challenge from my perch of privilege to stay focused on grace, mercy, peace, and love. It can feel like life is under attack from people who seek to cause harm, from people who are even just accepting of harm as a option, from sicknesses and illnesses and disease, from desperation and hopelessness and fear.
It is hard to stay focused on a faith that understands the depths of these despairs but still offers a message of hope.
Something I wrote in my journal recently after feeling overwhelmed with news stories of All Things Terrible in the world and after reading Psalm 75....
desperation at sea
hopelessness in disease
abuse of bodies
control of minds
hate of differences
lacking grace, mercy, and peace
life in this world
is so desperately broken
ancient text tells me to
texts written during
war, famine, disease, drought, brother killing brother
refugees, cancer, rape, bullying, intolerance, divorce
times do not change
Jesus brought a message to the world
but is the world capable
does the world want love
can humans choose love over
selfishness protection rightness judging winning riches power sex anger envy wanting
Lord, do you hear our cries
are the voices of those who desire your repeated and consistent messages of love love love love love