Words Matter

posted in: Wellness 0

Forgiving people who have hurt us deeply is one of the hardest things to do. But if we fail to forgive others, we hurt ourselves most of all. When our hearts are filled with bitterness, there’s no room left for love.  from Five Minutes of Peace, Daily Devotions

Our words matter

Last week, I shared a part of my story about growing up as a bi-racial child. I wrote about how uncomfortable it felt in middle school when people started asking me “What are you?” I shared this story because I wanted to create awareness around the fact that our words matter. Words can hurt deeply, and they can also lift us up. Sometimes, our unspoken words matter even more than the ones we say out loud.

Shortly after sharing my story, one of the girls who asked me the question “What are you?” came forward and publicly apologized for the hurt her words created for me. She also shared a bit of her story. I wish I had known her story the day she asked the question. Her story would have told me where her heart was when the question was asked.

My heart has been greatly touched by her courage to step forward in a public format. I wrote her a  letter in response to what she did and she gave me permission to share it in this week’s blog post.

Dear Sherrie,

Your grandfather would not be ashamed of you. He would be proud. He would be proud of you for stepping into a conversation and speaking up when it would have been much easier to remain silent. He would have been proud of the courage it took for you to step forward and take responsibility when it would have been much easier to shrug it off and sweep it under the carpet. Your grandfather would have been proud of you for offering such a sincere public apology.

I personally want to say thank you for your bravery and courage. I especially want to thank you for saying, “It was me, and I am sorry.”

When I wrote my blog, I wasn’t looking for resolution or an apology. I had made peace with my experiences as a child. I didn’t want to point fingers, name names, or assign blame. There is more than enough of that in the world right now. My intention was to share my story because I believed there might be more people like me out there who had a similar experience. When we have the courage to share our stories, I think we become more connected than separate.

It took courage and bravery for you to step forward and take responsibility. I never imagined this would be one of the outcomes of my blog, and I am still in awe of what you did. If more people could have your bravery, if more people could step forward and share their stories, I believe there is hope in changing the silent whispers of racism.

My heart is filled with gratitude for what you did. My hope is that you will forgive yourself for that day. It’s time to let go of the guilt and embrace a new beginning. Our new beginning has started a whisper of hope, forgiveness, and grace. This is the whisper that will encourage more people to step forward and share their stories. The more we can see how much we are alike, the more momentum our whisper will gain. 

Maybe our whisper will help us all write a new story…

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