I Can’t and I Won’t

“My mom is bipolar”

The words finally 
Escape my lips.

18 years of 

An untold story 
Because of the stigma
Associated with the illness. 
I didn’t tell it
Because I was afraid; 
Afraid all I would hear is 
“Shut up”

Now 20 years later
After the first time
I told our story
I can’t not tell it.

The voices
Of discord
Have finally
Been shut up.

The reality is that my fear was real because of our fractured world. Every time there has been a school shooting etc…where does the news immediately go? They almost always blame it on the individuals mental illness. Yet I know there is so much more to their stories. There is more than that one day captured in time. 
Or we turn on the news and hear of another black/brown man shot for the color of their skin. 
Or we see swastikas painted on school walls. 
Or we listen to voices that tell us to shut up because we are fighting for what we believe in. 
Or our Muslim friends are afraid to cover their heads because of how others see and treat them. 
Or we listen to the news trying to decipher what is truth and what isn’t. 
In the midst of all the noise, God calls us to be still and listen which requires that we shut up and listen; truly listen to one another. Too often, we don’t quiet our hearts and minds to listen for Gods voice. We are deaf to the trumpet sounds heralding around us. 
When we do finally shut up and listen, does Gods voice become even clearer? Or do we find ourselves still straining to hear Gods voice? 

And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”–Matthew 24:31 (NRSV) 

Once we take the time to shut up and listen, perhaps we finally hear the one true voice that calls us to be justice keepers, peace makers and lovers of all God’s children. It’s that voice that heralds the trumpets for ALL to hear; a voice we all need to hear in the midst of all the commotion of the world. 

Finally, may we take the time to truly listen, hear and proclaim in the promises of God who loved us so much God sent Gods son into the world for everyone of us. In all actuality, it seems to me that there are times that we need to shut up while at other times we need to use our voices to stand up for what is right! 

So I find myself clinging to the voice of God and in the midst of injustice, evil, and hatred, I must cry out; echoing the words of Desmond Tutu, “I wish I could shut up, but I can’t, and I won’t.” I can’t and I won’t when I see human beings being treated horribly. I can’t and I won’t when media portrays the murdered as anything but a beloved child of God. I can’t and I won’t when my LGTBQ+ friends are killed in a night club in Florida. I can’t and I won’t when there are other children who are paralyzed by fear and can’t tell their own broken stories. I can’t and I won’t when we don’t treat one another as beloved children of God. 

I simply can’t and I won’t when God calls me to live out the words in Micah 6:8 “But what does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, love kindness/mercy and walk humbly with our God!” 

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