After hearing heartrending stories on NPR about innocent people being publicly harrassed, intimidated, and even beaten, I got tired of spontaneous bursts of crying on my daily commutes. Yesterday morning, after one of these fits, as I cried out to God wondering what all of this was about, these words started coming to me. They were all about fear and the awful things fear makes us do. As soon as I got to work, I started tapping out those words on a keyboard. I honestly don't know where they came from...they just ushered forth...almost as if not from me at all. Almost as if I were a mere vehicle: Inspired. Thankfully, my first client of the morning canceled, so I had time to finish writing it all out. Here is the result:
I. Am afraid.
I am afraid to go to the movie theater. Out to dinner. To school. To work. Anywhere.
I am afraid when I see white vans parked by the side of the road.
Don’t you think I’m afraid?
I am afraid of being afraid.
I get a check in my gut when I see that beautiful brown skin, and quintessentially manly beard, especially when there’s no accompanying smile on that face.
I am afraid that this goes through my mind. I don’t want to be this way.
I am afraid that I am ignorant.
I am afraid for my friends: Muslims, and Arabs, and people that look like Arabs – beautiful people, all.
Some of them are even Christians. And Hindus. And Buddhists. And atheists. None of them are terrorists. But I am afraid that this means nothing to the man who is reactionary and afraid.
I am afraid that the Afraid People don’t even recognize how much their words and their actions come from a place of being afraid. I am afraid of what they will do.
I am afraid of how the sight of a hijab makes the Afraid People so afraid that all the hate they’ve kept hidden for so long in the secret parts of the heart will come roaring forth like a mighty river after a hurricane.
I am afraid that we will lose our humanity… in the name of combating people who have already lost theirs.
I am afraid that the Afraid People will win – that they will become the majority because they stir up everyone else who is afraid.
Yes, I am afraid that the Afraid People have made me more afraid. I am afraid of how that will affect me.
I am afraid that Love has its limits, and that we are inching ever closer to its bounds.
I am afraid that even if the Humanityless People lose, it will be too late, because the Afraid People will become the new Humanityless People. We all lose.
I am afraid that we are unable to talk anymore. To tell our afraidness to quiet down, so that we can hear: Peace, Love, Joy, Others.
I know that you are afraid too, aren’t you?
Maybe that means something? Maybe we’re not all so different after all? Maybe we don’t have to keep being so afraid and we can be something else? Something more: evolved, grounded, brave, hopeful, REAL.
But I’m afraid you don’t care to join me here…in being honest about all this afraidness. That you want to be part of the Afraid People. That you already are the Afraid People.