Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Guiding Principle in Troubled Times

Those of you who know me have heard tale of the grueling extortions of the psyche that is a graduate degree in psychology which I am working through right now.  A major focus of the mental health fields is the issue of racism and diversity. (ugh).

Heaven help me.   Hardest courses I have ever taken from a Japanese professor who challenged everything we ever thought about the world, our own "racism" and everything we ever thought of ourselves.  I even found myself worshipping with the Shiite Muslims at their local mosque and interviewing a friend who is a different race than me to find out what made me uncomfortable in the world in working with diversity in every setting I could imagine.

All the while, I felt invisible even more in this class, in a world where I already felt invisible or the enemy for things I hadn't ever really done wrong.

I won't go into all the dynamics, but obviously I have found myself conflicted in this world after all of this training.  A world that wants justice for past wrongs, where the living won't forgive the dead for their sins against the dead and perpetuate past wrongs of the dead into the lives of the living and call it "progress."

Out of my classmates, I'm in a unique position.  A former police officer, I have been accused of a racially motivated aggravated assault in the line of duty when I was protecting another woman of a different race.  Investigations continued, the outcome potentially destroying my career forever with a possible prison sentence depending on how things went.  And much much more besides this instance.

The psyche field some days.....most days.....
As a consequence, I've had my own opinions on racism, some very strong feelings about it.

Interestingly, the notions of racism have all but died for me as I find myself repenting of my sins.

The thing about repentance is, when you repent, it isn't conditioned on what the other person does.  Repentance is one principle that is about YOU. 

Suddenly, I found my bearings on a very confusing topic. Confusion....something the adversary thrives on.

You see, I *know* why we're here.  I also know, where we came from and where we are going, there is no "race."  I'm "white" but not as white as those heavenly beings who oversee us or as we will be when this is over. (I'm actually peach colored with green eyes).

And if my soul isn't spotless and pure, my skin color isn't going to make a bit of difference anyways.....

As I shopped today, surrounded by a few different languages being used, I thought about the notion that "they should speak English."

Well.....I guess the real question is, what should I do to them - how should I treat them?  Regardless of what language they choose to speak.  Would I have a different attitude if they were alcoholics instead of simply speaking a different language?  Would I rush to help them rather than see them condemned for their "laziness" or whatever society thinks their problem is?

Really, so much of the gospel is about "....and what is that to thee?"  Mind your business.  Love thy neighbor as thyself.  Judge as you would be judged, forgive as you would be forgiven. 

If they don't want to speak English and that matters so much to them or anyone else....well, you get your reward associated with it or your worries.  Not a debate that I really need to get tangled up in or that will benefit my soul much.  

Are there people who are going to think I'm racist for one reason or another no matter what I do?  Well....was Joseph Smith a prophet? 


Suddenly, I find peace where the professional racists think I should have none, screaming about peace while they are stirring up contention.  There IS a "good enough" and there IS "a way" - a path - a course of action to take.

But that path won't be found if I am focused more on how others make me feel, their shortcomings and on how others say I make them feel - I need to focus on the spirit and let it guide me through such a specifically-designed-to-be-contentious-issue.

Repentance - LIFE - is about what YOU do.  God is concerned about what others do to you, but you can't control that.

So I let them go their merry way.  God has given them their freedom just as he has given me mine.  It is mine to do with as I wish just as it is theirs and they will stand accountable just as I will, and God will take things into account with them just as he does me.  But in the end, for the storms and winds that blow - however ridiculous or unseemly society may become - at least I have a compass and a commandment (or a few) to guide me through it.  Because of this, I can have peace.

The rest....I just don't have to worry about.

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