Back to Normalcy: A Primer on Privilege

Examining my feelings, I find that I am slowly going back to normal, or at least easing into the new normal. For me, normal is thinking about me, myself and mine and not thinking about the things that have been troubling the world lately. I am worrying about Christmas and finding lunch. Meanwhile…

  • Cops who shoot unarmed people are still free. That’s not a new normal, per se. But it is new to my consciousness since the outcries from Ferguson, Staten Island and Ohio finally found my ears and heart.
  • The second anniversary of Sandy Hook came and went. I am sorry to not have even mentioned it in church. I guess the slaughtering of the innocents is now normal?
  • We are still killing people with drones. Should I be surprised if it happens to me?
  • LGBT youth are still killing themselves with shame.

I don’t understand my dull resignation. I am moved for a period of time. I draw conclusions and beliefs about those instances that have stayed with me: about guns, about warfare, about race, etc. Nevertheless, I allow time to shade my consciousness. I do get genuinely overwhelmed with the breadth and depth of violence in the world, but it is sincerely not close to me.

I think this is the definition of privilege. I forget about these matters because I can. At the same time, I feel spiritually dull. The world-changers are marching and I am worrying about lunch. It’s hard to confess when you are the priest. But confess I must.

2 comments

  1. I don’t know that it’s possible for the body or spirit to maintain the same levels of concern and urgency over the long haul when terrible things are happening to people in other parts of the world, people not close to us. My sister tends to lament that she can’t do anything much to help people enduring horrible conditions and events around the world, and ties herself in emotional knots for days at a time, eventually having to take a complete break from news stories while she works to regain her equilibrium and replenish her spirit. Perhaps an answer is to formulate a regular plan of action to pray and to help with fundraising, awareness and support, as once the news stories dwindle, support tends to go out the window also. There may not be the sense of urgency there, but that steady support can help effect change over time. It’s less heady, less glamorous, but I think fosters the sense of connectedness, of solidarity with sufferers around the world and we remember that we are doing what we can to help. I can appreciate the sense of resignation; I think all people who care about their fellow human beings experience that as well. A hug for you today, Pastor Christopher; your willingness to share your feelings as you do encourages us all.

    Like

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