Posted on December 12, 2014

 Love enough today, not to repeat the history of yesterday, nor to create a new regret for tomorrow. 

 Is that Daddy?!

fam photo black and white

I was looking through the news reports this morning when my 4.5 year old  daughter saw a picture of a man, a man with dark skin, a man with dark skin who happens to be in the news right now because he was unarmed, believed to be making a wrong choice, and strangled to death by a banned choke hold, while saying, “I can’t breathe”. She was not shown the video but saw a picture of him.

“Is that daddy?!” She asked.

Just those words made me tear up..

“No baby girl, that’s not daddy. But it is someone’s daddy.” 

“Ohh.” She said. Her green eyes looked up at me and her smile went to a serious expression. A softness formed on her lips and she started to speak, then stopped.

“It’s ok. What do you want to say?” 

“Mom, dad went to college, right?”

 “Yes, baby! Daddy went to college, then graduate school and now he’s in graduate school again!”

 She cautiously smiled. “That’s good mom. But mom, sometimes before, dark skin people and light skin people couldn’t be in the same place or be married.”

 “That’s right,” I said. Surprised we were having such a deep conversation, on an ordinary day, before breakfast. But maybe because it was in the safety of my room, in my arms, that she did want to have this talk. 

She went on, cautiously. “Sometimes dark skinned people would even be hurt. But not my daddy. He went to college.” I really was speechless, and just lost in her green eyes and her innocent lips. “But what about people not in my family, mom? What about people farther away from us? Would people hurt them?”

At this point, thinking of history, and all that as a Mom I had to tell her about, tears rolled down my face, and I just snuggled her to my chest.

Words felt insufficient, and I couldn’t grasp them, they were drowning beneath my throat, in the sea of emotions. Before I even had a chance to say anything, she said this:

“Because if people are being hurt, even if they’re far away, we should help. Because, in our family, nobody gets hurt, so then…. we can be the ones to help, right?”

I wanted so badly to tell her yes. To tell her we can all make a real and positive change. That we can be a voice, a light, a help.

 But can we?

What does one little voice do? What can one little person who has hope accomplish in a world that’s full of twisted darkness, patterns, crime, and dark times of hate? Not just of the treatment based on skin color, but on anything  that can divide, or harm, or hurt another life?

How does one person help?

 “Well,” I said. “Yes. We can help. We can make sure that we each become the best person we can become. That doesn’t mean the strongest or richest. It means we build up the most LOVE that we can. And we use that love to help others when we see something hurtful, we speak up and we do what we can to help. We learn everything we can. Even ask questions that take courage to ask. Everybody makes mistakes, everybody. But no person who is born, is a mistake. So we’ve got to learn how to treat each other, with real LOVE.

 She may, grasp something from what I said.

 But I will be forever changed, by what she said. 

the ones to help

The position her voice took was not one that had anything to do with race, or prejudice, or even justice. It had to do with one thing: Love. Thinking how she would want to be helped, or treated, or cared for, and then doing the same for another human being.

This is not a post about who did something right or wrong. This is not a post about the legal system or a political stance. This is not a post about civil rights past or present. This is not a post voicing my opinion about who is right or wrong in the case concerning the man who could not breathe that prompted the conversation. This is a post about the truth I am repeatedly shown through the words of my children. This is a post about LOVE.

When I am faced with the choice to sit back and watch someone, grateful that it is not me – or – to love with all my heart, and allow that love to spur me into loving action, then, (lest history repeat itself again, across so many people and nations) – I pray I remember the truth in my daughter’s voice as I make my choice.

I pray that I will choose LOVE.

I believe the strength we ALL have, in unlimited resource, is LOVE.

  Love enough today, not to repeat the history of yesterday, nor to create a new regret for tomorrow. 

Love enough today

Author Joy Brownlee. Written and Photography copyrights
to Joy Brownlee @ for the photos bearing Joy's watermark.

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