It is no secret that our country is experiencing the pains of race relations and how we find a peace amidst the chaos that is the news and development of current events. As a white mom, I oftentimes find myself ill-equipped to tackle the complexity of such issues with my boys, but know that the time of innocence goes so quickly, so surely the time of awareness is near.
It is easy to get comfortable – on my couch, in my home, in my neighborhood, in the suburbs of seclusion – and become immune to the constant news that our country seems to be collapsing in on itself. There always seems to be a new tragedy – it is like we are desensitized to destruction. And when we no longer feel that pain? That is where we really begin to lose grips on humanity.
So what does this have to do with pancakes?
I met up with a friend who is a local police officer that I had not seen in a while. We met at a local restaurant and she came dressed in full uniform. We joked for a while and she also expressed her concern for recent events given her job duties. Guests came and went throughout the lunch hour and eventually, an African-American family sat next to us with their adorable little boy. I made eye contact with him and smiled, but for the first time, I could feel an invisible tension. It was as if no one was entirely sure of what to do.
Now you probably have a million thoughts in your head, but what was probably a minute felt like an hour and I could not help but think, why? Why is there a hesitation here?
Their food came to the table and my friend gestured towards their pancakes, “I didn’t know they had pancakes here!” The father responded that they are the best around and we joked that maybe we should have purchased pancakes for our lunch too. The tension quickly dissipated and we carried on with our day – wishing one another a good day as we parted ways.
A simple conversation – someone spoke, someone listened.
Imagine what would happen if we all started simple conversations with those around us in an effort to learn about one another and to understand where the other is coming from.
Someone speaks, someone listens.
Even if it’s just a conversation over pancakes.