How Are You Feeling? (A Personal Reflection)

Paul Carline, Director of Intercultural Ministries, wrote this piece to share his experience and response to the racial injustice and protests in the past weeks.

“Certain conditions continue to exist in our society, which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.  But in the final analysis a riot is the language of the unheard.” Martin Luther King Jr.

I would not be writing this if my wife hadn’t asked our black sons how they were feeling in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis last Monday.

As followers of Jesus think about the events of the past few weeks, we’re sometimes not sure what to vigorously condemn. Maybe we are not hearing the unheard. Or maybe we are ever hearing but never understanding.

We need hearing aids. And in this case, one of the best hearing aids is our feelings. We must bypass our heads and go first to our hearts. How do we feel about this situation? How should we feel?

Nothing helps us acknowledge facts like feelings. It’s how our own bodies work—feelings put us on to the facts. When my feelings are touched by the feelings of others I love them better. I might not understand or accept what’s behind their feelings, but once I accept their feelings and feel for them, I am on the path to understanding, acceptance, and action.

Again, I would not be writing this if my wife hadn’t asked our black sons how they were feeling in the wake of the George Floyd murder in Minneapolis last Monday.

I, the Director of Intercultural Ministries, didn’t think of asking them. I assumed they’d be feeling just a general sort of “removed” sadness like me. They were born in Africa and spent the first half of their lives living where being black is the celebrated norm.

They both quickly replied to Kelly’s text.

One said, “I have too many thoughts for a text.”

The other said, “I cried when I watched the video [of the arrest]. I feel shame and sometimes don’t want to be black.”

My own sons! They are thoughtful and tearful over this and I didn’t know. Their feelings are now touching my feelings and changing my mind. But I have a long way to go. My heart is hard.

Please reply to this post with how you are feeling. If you are a racial minority in Atlantic Canada and especially if you are black, please tell us how you are feeling in light of the Floyd murder and the subsequent protests. I need to know because I want to change. I want our world to change.