It has been a week since blogging my metaphorical stepping off of the plantation. You can imagine the fear that haunted my character leaving his slave masters and fellow slaves, but does it honestly surprise you when I say that a very real fear gripped me the moment the blog posted?
I was afraid I would be alone, that no one else would come with me. Going somewhere I didn’t even know if I would recognize when I got there, made worse only by the thought that I would most likely be going alone. Of course I had a hope that others would be inspired...
What happened next made everything else worth it. Not only was I not alone, but I was surrounded by others, and from what I could see, there was no clear majority. It was one of the most incredible pictures of pioneering I have ever experienced first hand. So many others walked off their plantation and stepped foot in the very waters that once divided them.
And they didn’t just leave because they were uncomfortable. In fact, I found entire groups who were lavishly living in the master’s house; but once they heard the message, they couldn’t continue in their situations with the responsibility to help others gnawing at their conscious. For them, the pain of leaving was less than the pain of staying the same. And still, there were others who feared what their fellow slaves would say even more than they feared the reactions from their masters. All from different backgrounds, all called to walk off, and I found myself in the middle not being able to tell one group’s origin from another.
If you ask me have we arrived, my answer would be that I am not sure. We are where we are, presently making room for ourselves, building from the ground up. We do not all agree and I don’t think we will, or even that we are supposed to.
If you ask me how we are living so closely together with such different backgrounds and beliefs, I would tell you to not to look at what we build with but what we build on. Our foundation is made of equal parts grace and truth. We drink from the same creek that once babbled with the sound of division, but now seems to flow with sweeter water.
We build together not for the sake of unity, but for progression. This progression is in forgiveness and reconciliation. We do not sweep the big issues under the rug, we serve them in generous portions. And just like I had hoped we would, we sit together, we write new rules, we change the narrative, even if just one day at a time. If you ask me what it will look like when we finish, my answer would be that I do not know. But, if you ask me if there is room for more, my answer would be a simple invitation to follow the water, walk whatever path you must, and know that it will not be easy.
We will see you when you get here.