I realize, of course, that yesterday was about making decisions . . . decisions that good and faithful people disagree about. But here’s something we can all affirm: this is one cute little dude!
Our son’s middle name comes from my mother’s side of the family. The Greenes live in Oxford, North Carolina, which is a little farming town in North Carolina that, in some ways, reminds me of Dublin, Virginia. At its best, it is full of good-hearted people who value community and are fiercely independent thinkers. But Oxford is also a town that Timothy Tyson made famous in his terrific book, Blood Done Sign My Name. He tells a story about the murder of a black man during the Civil Rights era. I’d like to report that my relatives stood for justice, but the truth of the matter is that they were as racist as any in the community.
So it is not through any rose-colored idealism that I view my family history. Rather I mine our stories, sifting through the negative, small-minded, and bigoted aspects in order to discover some golden nugget of wisdom. Some truth that I want to pass on to my son and others. Something like this:
My great grandmother Greene was a pious woman. She didn’t drink; she didn’t curse. And she went to Dexter Baptist Church faithfully. Towards the end of her life, my father had the chance to get to know her a little. Perhaps she was a little suspicious at first; he was a Moravian minister, not Baptist! But she got over it; in fact, she would always ask Dad to pray. And when he would inquire about what he should pray for, great grandmother Greene would always reply in the same way. With her eyes closed, head bowed, and hands clasped, she would say, “Pray for health.”
The day after an election, I think this is the best prayer. Let us pray for the health of our country, our leaders (elected and otherwise), all our communities, and our friends and family. For, as my great grandmother Greene knew, health allows us to experience the world and, hopefully, to grow, to thrive, to move past divisions, and into peace.