February 28, 2015

Black Lives Matter … and So Do All Lives

By Carolyn W. Dandridge
Carolyn W. Dandridge

Carolyn W. Dandridge

I hear the words of Isaiah 40:28-31 paraphrased like this: “Do you not know or have you not heard? The Creator is the eternal Judge and ruler of the earth until the end. When you follow the Supreme One, you will not grow faint or weary, and your knowledge will be beyond scrutiny. God will provide strength to the fainting, and the weak shall become strong beyond measure. When we become weary and our youth stagger and fall, we who HOPE shall renew our strength and soar like eagles. We will run and grow Christlike, and we will walk and never faint.”

I, too, raised a young black man. His personal encounters with a system that judged him long before a crime or a perceived crime was ever committed started in middle school. So far, we have survived. He’s learned to trust in God and stand on his faith. My son wrestles daily with a supreme power that is greater than he or the demons that try constantly to destroy him. We know BLACK LIVES MATTER because ALL LIVES MATTER TO THE AWESOME MAKER OF LIFE ITSELF.

Pull-Quote_2-28-2015In the past we both have spent many days in full anger and total frustration. I felt this way because I was trying to raise a young man to be prayerful, proud, and loyal to being a human first and second to love the hue of the pigment of the skin he was blessed with. He was angry and frustrated because the world wanted to mold and shape him into what it thought he should be without giving him the opportunity to find himself and grow his own wings to soar. As I look back over the troubled times, I count it all joy that he survived. I deeply mourn for those mothers who have had to bury their sons and daughters after sudden, violent deaths that never gave them the opportunity to have their day in an earthly court.

Today my son has wings, and he is flying by faith. Periodically anger and frustration raise their head because he is raising a biracial young man, and the system is even worse for my grandson at the age of 11. The struggle continues. How do we let the world know that ALL LIVES MATTER?

I want to challenge everyone reading this blog to take a walk with Nehemiah. According to Walking with Nehemiah by Joseph W. Daniels Jr., “As a people we need to find and feel what make our personal heart break.” Dr. Daniels encourages a 9-step process that, if followed, can make a difference. I went back to the time that my heart broke (and I never thought it would heal). Coming out of that experience, I found a joy, peace, and a passion that I will pray and fight for all the days of my life—love and justice.

From my perspective, the world is sitting on the threshold of high technology and spirituality, but low self-esteem. There is a great divide between those who have versus those who have not. How do we mend this? We must go back and remember the power of the blood. Jesus shed his blood so that the world could be saved to experience the depth and importance of love and forgiveness. According to statistics, people shed blood to help those in need (blood banks); or as a result of fear, envy, hatred, and theft (murders, assassinations, accidental killings); and during the time of natural disasters and wars.

What wounds do you hold? What does your heart break for, and where is your passion? We have been granted the gift of love, forgiveness, justice, and the freedom to talk, think, and feel. If the Creator invited us to a party today, how many of us would go? Or would we send a text stating, “Sorry, it’s not my kind of party!”?

Come and join me at the party, because according to Micah 6:8, “We have been shown what is good. What does the Almighty require of us? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with the Great I AM!” [Author’s paraphrase]

It is time to open the doors of love, justice, and humility. I pray daily for those who fear me because I am a strong black woman; for those who hate my son because the Creator has allowed him to soar in his own rights against all odds; and for those prejudiced against my grandson because of his love for baseball. My grandson was denied a place on the All-Star Team because of the color of his skin. (He had the third highest batting record in his league.)

For whom does my heart break and bleed? For what am I willing to risk it all? As I watch this young generation of races, creed, and nationalities around the world bursting to make a change and break the stronghold of evil and corruption, my heart breaks and bleeds for the love of God to be shown toward people of all hues, shapes, and levels of intelligence. In the sight of God, BLACK LIVES DO MATTER, and ALL LIVES MATTER.

Carolyn W. Dandridge is communications project coordinator for Discipleship Ministries of The United Methodist Church. She is married to John Dandridge, who is retired, and they have a blended family of 5 children and 8 grandchildren. She is a member of Gordon Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville.


Further Reading

Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey

Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey


A Prayer for Black History Month by Carolyn W. Dandridge

Forgiveness, the Passionate Journey by Flora Wuellner


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