Normal visual acuity, that is clarity and sharpness of vision, is considered 20/20 vision. You see clearly what should normally be seen clearly from a measured distance.
The normal way we view the world has been challenged the last few months. Our eyes have been opened to new perspectives. First, with the drastic changes in our routines brought on by the Coronavirus, we have been forced to see the world and our particular place in it very differently. We have begun to reprioritize. Perhaps we have become more keenly aware of the blessings we have and see more clearly, and with greater empathy, the needs of others.
Second, and more recently, our eyes have been opened to a different kind of “virus” called racism that has spread quietly for years. Mostly unnoticed, this kind of infection is deadly to God’s plan of unity, justice and peace for all.
Ironic that these events, that are opening our eyes and hopefully bringing a clarity and sharpening of vision, are happening in 2020? I think not.
God is calling us to clearer vision in many areas. Each one of us has been given an opportunity to awaken and to change. To find clarity in how we view our relationship to our world, to each other, and to God. Any change we want to see in our world has to start with us.
That was one of the powerful takeaways from our Well Time* dialogue on racism with Terry Gardner-Smith and her son Arthur Smith last week. Our eyes were opened to the need to acknowledge that change starts with awareness and the ability to admit our own part. That awareness leads to empathy, which leads to a new vision, which ultimately leads to action.
As black author Austin Channing Brown states “The work of anti-racism is to become a better human to other humans.” So simple. But in order to do this, hearts need to be transformed, and only God can accomplish that.
In the 2018 United States Council of Catholic Bishops pastoral letter on racism entitled Open Wide Our Hearts it states, “What is needed and what we are calling for, is a genuine conversion of heart, a conversion that will compel change and the reform of our institutions and society. Conversion is a long road to travel for the individual. Moving our nation to a full realization of the promise of liberty, equality, and justice for all is even more challenging. However, in Christ we can find the strength and the grace necessary to make that journey.”
“How do we overcome this evil of rejecting a brother or sister’s humanity…? We find our inspiration in the words of the prophet Micah:
You have been told, O mortal, what is good, and what the LORD requires of you:
Only to do justice and to love goodness, and to walk humbly with your God. (Mi 6:8)”
Do justice, love goodness and walk humbly. Our call to action.
In the symbolic picture above from 1969, Mr. Rogers and Officer François Clemmons, one of Fred’s “neighbors,” are sharing a wading pool and a moment of silence. Just a few years before, many public pools were off limits to black Americans.
Twenty-five years after this picture was taken, the two of them revisited the plastic wading pool and Officer Clemmons asked Fred what he was thinking in the moment of silence so many years ago. Fred replied, “I was thinking of the many ways people say ‘I love you.’”
Let our 2020 vision be clear – do justice, love goodness and walk humbly.
Where will you start?
*I hope you will consider joining us for Well Time on Zoom this Wednesday, June 17 at 6:30pm as we continue our dialogue on racism with Terry Gardner-Smith and her son Arthur. If you would like to receive the Zoom invite contact Mary Stack at . If you are already on our weekly Well Time email list you will automatically receive the invite.