About a month ago, a series of convergences helped me.
- I was called troll and blocked online
- I walked down a muddy hill.
“You’re just a troll, and a piss poor one at that.”
With those words, the admin of the Uncensored Ridgefield Facebook group blocked me. Several others followed suit. And my time in the group abruptly ended. If I saw this admin around town today, I’d have to confess he did me a favor. I had become a troll. For a while, I had justified it to myself by saying that I was only trolling the trolls. More accurately, I was becoming the thing I hated in others. I had grown an enemy out of a stranger through the power of Facebook. Letting me go allowed me to see myself and what I was doing.
Remember Trump’s Ramp Problem?
Around the same time, I mixed up my walking route. I began taking a park route instead of a city route. In the process, I had begun sneaking down this little path into the park. It had been quite wet. I had several close calls with muddy spots on the down slope. I was at once acrobatic and foolish. Around that same time, Donald Trump had an embarrassing moment at the West Point graduation. After a long speech he departed from a dais on a long ramp. He looked concerned that he would fall. That was enough to unleash the boo birds. He was ridiculed, mocked and laughed at. People speculated about his health and made judgments on his ramp walking based clearly on other things.
As I struggled with my own slippery slope, I had to pause my ego regarding Trump. I found myself ‘doing harm’ to him in my heart and mind. I had long been treating him as an enemy to be defeated, rather than an enemy to be loved.
Yes, I want his hateful ways soundly defeated. I didn’t go to El Paso just to shrug over who wins an election. As a Christian, I have inherited a moral vision of a godly society, and I can only conclude that the leadership of Mr. Trump will lead us far short of that vision. He has done great harm and will likely do greater harm.
But this post isn’t so much about him as it is about me. Who does God desire me to be? What does God desire me to do? I had to admit on that hill that I was becoming that which I despise in others.
A Third Convergence
Of course one month ago was one month after the death of George Floyd and the beginning of a great white awakening of race and violence in our country. Like many white people, I began searching out black voices to listen to. Among those I turned to was Brittany Howard. I pre-ordered her album Jaime last year. Admittedly, I hadn’t given it a full listen. On my long covid-walks I had begun rediscovering my music library. “Thirteen Century Metal” went into heavy rotation and quickly emerged as an anthem for me for the season we are in.
I promise to think before I speak
To be wary of who I give my energy to
Because it is needed for a greater cause
Greater than my own pride
And that cause is to spread the enlightenment
Of love, compassion, and humanity
To those who are not touched by its light…From “Thirteenth Century Metal”, by Brittany Howard
I do think, ultimately, that God is calling humanity to a greater humanity. To a greater level of love, compassion and justice than we are currently displaying. The pandemic plus the killing of George Floyd has revealed great inequities in our society. The problem with great awakenings is that there is an initial desire to hit the snooze bar and go back to sleep. Such is the nature of privilege.
Instead, humanity must get up, get dressed and get to work. As it is, I cannot do work in others that has not been done in me. I must give up the lazy righteousness of trolling and ridiculing and take on the greater righteousness of love, compassion and truthfulness. Being freed of my platform of trolling plus my weakness when faced with a slippery slope are teaching me that I must work and lead with integrity. How else can a world of love and compassion come about?