Mama Bunkfish

Navigating marriage, motherhood, and mental illness on Jesus, caffeine, and naps!

It’s Not MY Problem

Today while having a conversation with the nurse at my psychiatrist’s office, she commented that she didn’t want to be a part of a particular mom’s group because “she didn’t want to keep hearing about systemic racism because that wasn’t her experience” in the DFW suburb we were talking about. I swallowed several times and grimaced behind my mask, trying to keep my cool (I was after all at the psychiatrist for my quarterly check-up and I didn’t want to snap on her and end up in trouble). We talked some more and I eventually told her that it was great she hadn’t experienced racism in the town but that it was a very real thing. When I left the office I called my mom to tell her about the conversation and how frustrating it was. Although that conversation was about one thing, her attitude was indicative of what seems to be a major problem right now – a lack of empathy. For many folks, if it hasn’t happened to them or isn’t their problem, they’d rather not hear about it, fight it, and for some – even acknowledge its existence.

As the last 18 months have unfolded, I’ve seen countless protests, executive orders, and opinion pieces on everything from vaccines to Critical Race Theory. All of these issues are met with fierce debates on both sides of them and sometimes that debate is necessary; any problem originates with a conflict – most of the time of ideals – and the only way to come to a real resolution is to talk it out. However, the problems we face in this country, the ones that are literally killing people, could often be resolved if we stopped and put ourselves in someone else’s shoes. I don’t mean the performative allyship I so often see either. I mean actually stopping to listen, think, and feel like someone else might feel when tough things happen – cause it’s going to happen to all of us – and using that often visceral response to genuinely help those who are suffering. I’m not a lesbian but I can have empathy for the lesbian who’s been disowned by her family. I’m not poor but I can have empathy for the poor person who has to choose between paying their rent or buying food. I’m not an immigrant but I can have empathy for the immigrant who risked her life to enter this country because her’s had been torn apart (often by a war we helped fund but that’s another thread). And I’m about to make some of y’all really mad but whatever- I’ve never had an abortion but I can have empathy for the woman who was impregnated by no choice of her own (or by her choice) and has to make the most difficult decision of her life. The decision to listen to these people and sit in their uncomfortable and unfortunate situations doesn’t cost me anything. It doesn’t damage my relationship with God. It doesn’t compromise my morals. What it does is allow me to step back and instead of damning folks to hell, back to their country, or to the ‘liberal left’ or ‘conservative right’, to get to the root of how THEY feel and what I can do to offer compassion and prayer.

Now don’t get me wrong. I judge folks all the time. It’s a very ugly and bad habit I have and usually, it’s folks who do things in the name of ‘conservative Christ-like beliefs’ but aren’t displaying what is in my opinion, conservative Christ-like behavior. As I’ve said before, I have not arrived and thankfully I’m married to someone who will reel me back in and help me remove the judgement and ask them the hard questions. However we both agree – when it comes to racism, sexism, or any of the phobias, there isn’t much conversation and consideration to be had – those things are just wrong.

Friends, as you move through the rest of the year, instead of being quick to say, “That’s not MY problem.”, remember that one day, it could be your problem and you might need an empathetic person to walk you through it.

Until next time…

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