Teach Me

… She opened up and explained to me that as a black woman she has too often been described in her life as cool or brave or strong; she has more often experienced compliments that are masculinizing. She shared with me that her hair is like an object to people: different, trendy, or interesting. What she wants though as a woman, is to be embraced with adjectives such as beautiful, stunning, and pretty.

White people, she told me, always get those kinds of compliments. Black people … get strong.

In that moment held between the two of us, I leaned into her story and I empathized deeply with her words. It was something that in my privilege I had been completely naïve about. It took asking questions and listening, despite my pride.

And at that table, I looked at my friend and I apologized:

I am sorry. I am sorry that my words put you back in that same place that you have been rising up out of. I am sorry that my words belittled your beauty. I am sorry for my ignorance within my privilege. I am sorry for your pain. … 

[ I am overjoyed to guest write over at SheLovesMagazine today! READ THE REST HERE ]

– Jenny Rose Foster

WE

ONE

Our J’s had their very first big concert to date Friday night. The whole experience was ice cream and 7-up. The atmosphere was a blend of rockin and rollin and jumping around to the beat in fantastical expression!! It was a lot of clapping and singing along. A lot of laughter and huge smiles. It was my little girl who got to jump on the stage and groove. It was my boy sitting on the shoulders of his daddy; waving his hands around.

My husband and I love to attend live music and recently decided to start taking the kids with us a little more often. It is extra money to get them in,yes, but the experience is worth it. Here is why: MUSIC BRINGS PEOPLE TOGETHER> It really does and it is an experience I want my kids to remember having with us. I think that is why I enjoy it so much. The gregarious uninhibited freedom to dance…an uncomposed sense of self to really feel the palpable sounds and the sing alongs. The stand out part is that it is among others. You are singing together. You are dancing together. It is the togetherness that makes the whole experience magical.

In fact, whenever I am in the moment singing along I feel myself enter into a sense of worship. As a believer of God my Creator and Jesus my Savior, I feel Holy Spirit in ALOT of music, regardless if it came from an organized church group of claimed believers or not…regardless of the singers beliefs, regardless of the crowd, regardless — I feel God in a lot of music genres … in the image of God WE ARE…WE ARE ALL CREATED IN THE IMAGE OF GOD and that reflects God’s beauty and spirit through us whether we claim Creator or not. — And through that connection; through that camaraderie…through that beauty of human expression, living life together for “life is love and love is life” we embody our Creator. DO YOU think we people of humanity made up that kind of emotion. That is God emulating through the very fibers of our beings!!

Before the concert, my husband and I worked a very full, very hard day. We both own our own company together. We partner as co-owners of a remodeling establishment. We love our work; as any business owner knows, the work is never over. Thus we left our home at a later time than we should have. We arrived to the show at a much later time than ideal. The show was a sold out Micheal Franti explosion of patrons. We rushed in as quickly as we could, just as the opening band began to sing out their first set of notes.

Our eyes scanned the beautiful outdoor arena smothered in blankets and chairs and people. Hardly a dot of a spot left to be claimed, unless you wanted a lovely giant tree in the way of your view. Bummer! I was so disappointed. I wanted this experience to be so good for my children.

As we walked up and down the narrow grass aisles we found nothing and nowhere to place our little bundle of concert chairs. Just before we relinquished our efforts and headed to the very back, a man approached us and asked if we were looking for a place to sit. “YES!” we answered. He pointed back a little ways towards his spot and said, “Do you see that blue blanket on the ground…THAT IS FOR YOU!”

Wait. What?!! Absolutely floored, I follow this man to the very center of the outdoor seating arena. He lead us to the most coveted seats. Front & center at the precise decline of the grass hill creating a scenario where the people below would not be in the way of our kids being able to see the stage. Impeccable seating! I couldn’t believe it! — “So you have no one you were saving these spots for?” I asked. The man and the woman sitting next to him, both shook their heads and the man said, “That blanket is yours. We were saving this spot for you…” —

We Were Saving This Spot For You! Intentional LOVE. Pre-schemed Pre-meditated LOVE! —  My heart literally exploded into a million gushing pieces of WOW. I told them my thank you’s… and said, “You are both going to make me cry, I am so touched by this.” … As we settled our J’s into their little concert seats, I held back tears. I was literally feeling an overwhelming desire to just weep of gratefulness for the beauty of the human spirit which echoes the image of God, was just roaring out of these two people. Gush!!! My heart felt such an intensity of warmth that words have no comparison of expression.

I left to go get ice cream for my J’s on that sizzling hot summer evening and while standing in line I wiped away little tears that kept wheezling their way out. I stood in that line reflecting thankfulness for those people. Contemplating the beauty that they conspired. Apparently, they arrived to the concert early and they told me that they remembered what it was like to try to get out of the house with kids; they decided to set out a little blue blanket in anticipation for a family. They waited. They waited in that massive crowd for us.

Being of a mind of WE allows us to view the world with a lens of readiness. A lens of how can I bless YOU. How can I see you. How can I listen. How can I prepare a way of kindness. 

This is what the kingdom of heaven looks like: The kingdom of heaven looks like a couple of people saving a spot in a crowd of hundreds for a family that they don’t even know. This is a living on earth as it is in heaven mentality. 

After the concert was over and we were all packing up in a crowd now hushed to the hum of hundreds of people in conversation; I turned back towards the couple and told them again, “Thank you! Thank you so much for your kindness. You crushed me with love. You made our night special! What you did is kingdom living!” — I have no idea if they understood what I meant, I have no idea what they believe spiritually, but in my eye-sight their actions were kingdom living! There is enough already in this world that we conjure up in our minds that creates shallow senses towards one another. Enough of it! They saw God in my eyes and I saw God in their eyes. It is the word Namaste ~ which means: I honor the Holy One who lives in you.

May we live life honoring the Holy One that lives in all of us. For whether we say it out loud or not, the Holy One is part of our image and we are all brothers and sisters and we are all neighbors — locally and globally. WE ARE ONE. ~ Blessed Are The Peacemakers ~

– Jenny Foster