Thank you, Pat Metheny.
This has been an enlightening weekend while in Richmond. I’ve seen beauty in many different forms – through my surroundings, through conversation, and through graffiti in a way I did not expect.
On Saturday morning, I met my friend Candace at Starbucks for iced tea and conversation. We are what would be considered “polar opposites” in today’s society. Here’s what I loved – we talked for two hours, and it was about all the stuff we have in common, and when we did touch on political topics, it was respectful to the other person…in all honesty, we spent more time laughing, and “arguing” over the difference between New York and Upstate New York! It was truly an enjoyable morning!
As Jenn’s daughter lives down here, we’ve had the chance to do some walking around some of the very scenic parts of the city. For as divided as things are right now between COVID and civil injustice, it’s been quite enjoyable to meet and talk with people as I’ve been walking around. People have been very friendly, and it almost makes me forget about how much unrest is still taking place.
This afternoon I visited the Robert E. Lee statue in Downtown Richmond. Although this is the only one not yet taken down, all of the Confederate statues in the area have been vandalized. I understand the anger and the resentment behind why they were vandalized, but I struggle with how they were vandalized in certain ways. There’s a mix of messages of hope and messages of anger. What I found incredibly inspiring was the graffiti painted on some of the concrete barriers around the monument, as these had words and sayings like Unity, Solidarity, and “We Have A Dream.” For all the ugliness we have seen with the controversy of these historical figures, it was nice that someone took the time to be very artistic and detailed with their words of hope.
What saddens me right now is the lack of healthy dialogue – social media continues to be the breeding ground for negativity, and everything on TV seems to be sound bytes of arguments and/or finger pointing. We communicate with our thumbs and fingers, and we hide behind our profile names. I now scroll past anything that starts with “I know this is gonna offend…”, because that’s only stirring the pot. Between now and Labor Day, if anyone wants to have dialogue (not arguing, or focusing on having the last word) with me, I’m very open to that. Yes, we’ll have our differences, but let’s talk not only about differences, but solutions and commonalities. These are the steps towards healing, and God knows there’s a LOT of healing that needs to take place.
They say that pictures are worth a thousand words. I hope that the images in this post encourage positive, valuable dialogue. Who says talk is cheap?