speech by Meryl Streep the other day. Maybe you heard it too. In it she challenged the group of people she was speaking to not some things become normal.
Yesterday I listened to a podcast that detailed out four Jewish words. I'm not Jewish but what strikes me about the tradition is the emphasis on remembering. Remember your time in slavery. Remember the great exodus. Remember, remember, remember. Many of their rituals are steeped in this call to remember. In fact many religions worldwide have rituals created to remember and guides for living that provide boundaries to keep us repeating disasters from the past.
I think we're living in a time where we need to be reminded to remember. We have all the tools necessary to easily forget: denial, media, busyness, work, adventure, travel, food, movies, shopping, gossip. You name, we have it. There isn't much call to remember.
Things become normal. Quickly.
We become numb. Quickly.
Things that may have been shocking, revolting, humiliating, and offensive just one year ago are now "the way things are" or "how he/she is" and "that's just what they say or how they do it" or "they're just crazy".
So this year, in 2017, my challenge to us all is to remember.
Remember, there was a people group who traveled across the ocean in hopes for freedom. And they're part of our family tree.
Remember, some of those same people who risked their lives for freedom later enslaved the lives of others.
Remember, it tore a country apart.
Remember, we made it through but we're still healing.
Remember, there was a time when two drinking fountains existed.
Remember, there was a back of the bus and a front of the bus. People who could sit and people who had to stand.
Remember, if we're human our birthright is dignity and respect.
Remember, there was a time when women didn't vote. Or have a place in an office, or science, or most any other profession.
Remember, we're still working to create that space.
Remember if it's created, it probably wasn't by you which means it's a gift.
Remember freedom isn't given - it's earned through hard work and cost.
Remember, the people we admire most turned to love and forgiveness. The times in history we most regret were plagued with anger and violence, hatred and division.
Remember, hatred isn't normal. Putting people down isn't normal. Words laced with arrogance and intolerance and lack of compassion aren't normal. Violence isn't normal. Racism isn't normal.
They may seem normal. They're not.
Put on your armor and fight this - not each other.
Because if this becomes normal - if hatred and intolerance and treating anything or anyone with less dignity then their birthright or created Spirit demands - if this becomes acceptable and we become numb, then it becomes life.
Don't let it be normal.
For the love of God, this nation, your children, this earth, your neighbors, humanity, yourself - don't let it become normal.
Remember. Remember. Remember.