Tuesday, May 24, 2011

history lesson

i've been doing a good bit of thinking lately about history. what do we do with our history, with our past both recent and far-reaching? when i went home right before leaving for Mississippi, i asked my grandma to share with me some of her family history, a story i've not really heard and have been curious about as of late. what is it that makes us want to know where those before us have gone, where we have come from? which stories do we choose to tell, and which do we try to forget and hide?

today i heard and saw a little bit more of the history of Jackson. like all history i've ever heard, it's complicated and messy and full of painful memories. it's surreal to be at my church downtown, surrounded by a past full of the work and lives of Medger Evers, Ed King and John Perkins, to name a few. at the same time, this very church, Galloway, has its own haunting past-an internal and public battle over desegregation that tore apart its congregation in a single sunday. it's a past that has obviously left scars-the remnants of a vibrant downtown now broken and unused; the numerous homeless men and women that daily come for a meal; the racial and economic tensions that still run deep through the very seams of the city. yet Jackson and its people are still hanging on to life, to the vision of those before them who envisioned a new life beyond their history.

to be honest, i'm not sure yet what to do with all this history. it's one that i've been fortunate to hear, see, read about and even experience in other places, but that still doesn't make it any easier to take in. as i wrestle with our history, as i struggle to make it all make sense and not be in vain, i must remember that the remembering is essential. because for all it's pain and sorrow, i'm forever grateful for this history full of the named and the unnamed, for those who stood up for a world they believed in but could not yet see actualized before their eyes. what a beautiful faith legacy for me to walk in and hope in.

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