Weekly Reflection, Sunday, February 23, 2020
By: Henly Deutsch
I have to be honest. Shame, guilt, and perhaps a little defensiveness, were my knee-jerk reactions when I first started reading Amy Julia Becker’s book White Picket Fences. It’s not the first time that my southern country club, private school educated self has felt this way and I’m sure that it won’t be the last. Yes, like most of us I venture to say, I have lived in a bubble. I don’t think I even fully realized that until I was in my mid-twenties just out of school and starting my career in the “real world.” As I continued to read the book, I began to understand Amy Julia’s intent was not to shame us, but to encourage us to acknowledge our blessings and then put all of that privilege aside.
Compassion is not an emotion held only by those who have experienced hardship. We shouldn’t feel apologetic for our upbringing or the upbringing we have provided for our children, and we should acknowledge that we are all a product of our environment. When we emerge from our protective but restrictive white picket fences and come out of the confines of our bubbles, we can imagine living life in someone else’s shoes. Looking at another person’s experiences through a different lens, their lens, we gain a new perspective. Whether it’s the elderly woman who’s struggling with loneliness, the homeless man on the corner you pass every day, or the little girl with Down Syndrome, Amy Julia asks us to see the similarities, not the differences. She says “…understanding the value of every human being, independent of work or achievement, is a truth we all need to hear.” Finding love and serving wholeheartedly is not easy; she acknowledges that. This is where God comes in. “It is an act of faith that God is love, that I am needy, and that by turning toward love, I will someday, somehow be given a way to participate in the restoration of the good world God made.” Amy Julia warns that it will take thousands of us who are willing to do God’s work.
I hope you will take advantage of this wonderful opportunity presented to our congregation this weekend. Amy Julia Becker will share with us and inspire us. She knows that together we can make a huge impact in our world. I know that I want to be one of those thousands. How about you?