Is It A Racial Thing?

What’s he ranting about?!

Confession: I spent Sunday in my lounge clothes away and hidden with phone tucked away! It was glorious!! I slept the majority of the day only to wake now and again to see what was happening with “the game”. This one particular time I awoke it was to some crazed man yelling his head off and a seemingly terrified woman with a microphone looking completely dazed and confused.

I was now wide awake!

I continued to watch the broadcast for some explanation. Evidently it was about one guy talking trash about another guy and the recipient of that trash talking ended up taking the trash talker to the “heart break hotel”. Oh…so normal sports stuff?

The fall out conversations about that drama is what bothered me though. Somehow it became a racial thing.

Look, I was an athlete and I’m competitive. I had a mouth in the past and I can talk my share of trash still. I get the whole adrenaline thing. Emotions going stupid and all. But I’ll never get how we can take things to such a high level that it becomes so juvenile! How did this become a race thing?

Argument 1: If it had been a white man going off on a black man that way, there would have been an uproar. But because it was black on black somehow it’s okay.

IMHO: Agree and disagree. I do think a double standard gets played at times and I can’t stand it!! If Sherman had been white and went off like that on a black guy, I do think there would’ve been more of an issue. I don’t agree with that and I don’t like it! I disagree though that because it was black on black that it made it more okay. It wasn’t. Sherman lost control and was arrogant. That has nothing do with color.

Argument 2: Anyone not okay with Sherman’s mouth is racist, prejudice or has no clue of our black culture.

IMHO: Disagree. Again I’ll state that Sherman lost control and was arrogant. That has nothing to do with color or culture.

It’s a sad day when I speak to some of my white friends and they’re almost unsure whether to express their dislike for how Sherman acted because of how that might make them appear. It’s also a sad day when someone has to make it a white vs. black thing instead of just calling Sherman’s actions for what they were.

Am I just being naive? Oooh how I’ve been told that before. Why? Because I’m not FULL black? I’m mixed black and Mexican. Because I was raised in a well off neighborhood? Somehow these things mean that I don’t know “the struggle”. Here’s what I know… I know what’s it like to go to an all white private school and be called n*** daily. I know what it’s like to sit alone on a bus because I’m too dark. I know what it’s like to not be received by a few of my own because I’m not black enough or latin enough. And no I didn’t just feel that, I was told that. My husband and I know what it felt like to be frowned upon because we married and weren’t of the same ethnicity. Or to be told I was dooming any children I would have because they would be mixed. I know what it felt like for someone to politely suggest that a full black family would’ve been better in adopting our youngest son instead of us adopting him because he’s full black and we are not. I could go on for days with story’s of my husband getting profiled and the ridiculousness we’ve dealt with.

So before anyone tries to tell me I’m naive or sheltered I’m gonna politely ask you to slow your roll on that. I do know. I’ve experienced enough and was taught by my father how lived through the thick of it to know you’re gonna get it wrong every time if you keep that chip on your shoulder. I know enough to know that yesterday’s fiasco of an interview with Sherman ain’t got nuthin to do with anyone’s “struggle”. Black or white.

IMHO: Yesterday’s interview had everything to do with built up trash talk, behind the scenes stuff we don’t know, an athlete that just accomplished what so many said couldn’t happen, an athlete junked up on adrenaline and at the end of the day…poor sportsmanship.

Non of that has a thing to do with color or culture. So could we please…PLEASE not always make things a racial issue?

~Brenda Renderos

The Game of Secrets

I have been one of the players of the game of secrets. And, to my demise, I would say I’ve played well within that game. It’s a game without fun or joy or laughter or silliness. Silliness…. Not an inch of space allowed for such triviality. This is a game of careful calculation, observant eyes and thoughtful understanding of humankind.

In most circumstances I can read quickly how much one needs for the appetite to be satisfied. The appetite of knowing. It would be impossible for all things to be well with me at all times. That would be a  rookies move in the game of secrets. Each of us has a level of desire to sympathize and some even to empathize. So to say that I’m not well is an easy task. But how much of my “not well” will you be allowed to know?

My body has become more intolerable to the feast of bread and pastas and glorious flours. More so the ingredient that glues it altogether but none-the-less I’m left in want of these fine foods. As I have had to put more and more of these foods aside I have also seen how they would fill me. How they would take the place of those things grander to the tongue. I ate a burger which excluded the bread and found myself in wanting. Where once this very same burger would have been a chore to finish, I now was left unsatisfied. The truth was exposed. The meat was thin and what truly filled me was flour and air.

That is how secrets are kept. How much do I share to satisfy your appetite of you “thinking you actually care” so that you don’t realize that I’ve yet to feed you the heart, the meat of what truly ails my heart. And when I see you recline and hold your stomach is when I am safe again. My piece has moved another spot on this game board of greys, darkness and loneliness.

This is a game without fun or joy or laughter or silliness. Silliness. Not an inch of space allowed for such triviality.

This is me. This has been me. This is my struggle. Why expose such unattractive truth? Well as someone who has played so skillfully in the game of secrets I surely did not want to. But this is exactly why I speak it. We as players think foolishly that we are winning with each move around this wretched game board. If we would look to that last move on the board though we would see what awaits. Darkness. Cold. The “what ifs” of regret and wonderment’s never explored. No, the only way to win this game is to lose.

Why do I say this is me? Is this truly my present being? No and yes. Yes and no. I fear that there will always be the small scent of my inclination to hide. But my moves to expose have become bolder and more frequent. There is a passage out of this games cold wet caves. And I can not find it within myself to hide it from you, to leave without you. Yes…you. You who keep the secrets of your pain, loss, despair and disdain.

The only way to win is to lose. Lose by daring to reveal. Win by losing. And to those with the appetite to care…well now you know. You know our secret.

~Brenda Renderos

I Dare You (Guest Blog by Victoria Dumapias)

What I do consists of so many meetings and each one is meaningful in its own way. This one came with a special read at the end of my day. You just never know what will stick and resignate with a person. Love how this lovely lady expressed what stuck. I challenge you to take the dare she’s giving!

Why do we always try to complicate what is simple?

I was reminded of this truth this afternoon as I went to grab lunch with an old mentor of mine. We were having what I would consider a typical “Christian” meeting – there was sharing of a good meal, conversations about ministry, and life-giving words of encouragement, the usual. And as we were talking, she said something so simple, yet so profound – something that made me stop from taking a bite of my delicious pizza (which obviously means that this was serious business!).

As we were talking about relationships – friendships, romance, mentorships – she looked over at me and casually said:

“Victoria, sometimes all you have to say is, ‘Thank You.’ Sometimes that’s all it takes to change everything.”

You see – I am a total people’s person. I love loving people. I like to convince myself that God put me on this Earth specifically to love people really, really, really well. I always strive to be better in my relationships.

I find myself seeking after books, and after professors, and after sermons, hoping to find an answer on how to simply be better at loving people. I want to be a better daughter, a better friend, a better leader, a better girlfriend.

But, as days go on, I find myself realizing that sometimes it’s not about what others can offer you. It’s not even about what you can offer other people. I know being in ministry has fashioned and conditioned me to want to always have the right words for people. I want to say the right things, and pray the right prayers, and do the right things in order to show my love for them.

But, the truth is, sometimes you can show someone you love them by simply saying “thank you.”

There is great power in gratitude.
There is great power in a thankful heart.

When you show someone gratitude – you are reminding them of who they are. You are anchoring them back to truth. You are whispering words of value and worth over them.

It’s that simple.

“Thank you… for loving me when I was extremely unlovable.
Thank you… for just showing up when I needed you.
Thank you… for hugging me when I was angry.
Thank you… for giving me grace when I acted like a jerk.
Thank you… for pointing me back to Jesus.
Thank you… for your gentle spirit when I was wandering.”

These words seem so simple, so feeble – yet they hold much power.

So today, I challenge you:
1. Write down ten things to be thankful for right now.
2. Think of one person right now who has made a dent in your life. Grab your phone, open a new message, and thank them.
3. And most importantly, remember who Jesus has been in your life. And praise Him because of it.

As for me, thank you to every single person who has played a part of my story – big and small.

To my parents, thank you for raising me in a home that has been filled with radical grace, and kindness, and selflessness.

To my sisters, thank you for being my built-in best friends, and for supporting me during my years of self-discovery and independence.

To my “other fam,” thank you for all of the laughter shared – the inside jokes and the prayers and the hugs that were desperately needed during my times of brokenness.

To my boyfriend, thank you for constantly pointing me back to the Cross when I wander. You blow me away every day with your sweet, kind love.

And to Jesus – the one who has dusted me off, picked me back up, and cheered me on when I failed – thank You for constantly choosing to love me even when I suck.

Live lives filled with grateful hearts and see what happens.
I dare you.

- Victoria

 

I Dare You.

Check out more of Victoria’s writings at her blog Laced in Grace.

What About Me?!

I was there for you. Why can’t you be there for me?!

Is that a fair question?

I’ve come to the conclusion the answer is…yes! But for this reason…the answer.

If we could step outside of the emotions of disappointment, discouragement, and feeling let down then maybe we would see the other side of that question. That it is, in fact, a true and sincere question to ask. One that if we can clear our ear of what clogs it, we would find the answer freeing.

Could it be that the one we are asking this of truly can not be that friend? While maybe their heart is true, and although they try as they may, in the end that place we are trying to press them into is not for them? Could it be that possibly, quit possibly, I was meant to comfort them but not the other way around?

How is that fair?

Does it need always be? Fair?

We live in a society where the banner of equal opportunity and fairness fly strong. But is that truth in all things life?

Here’s what I’ve learned.

If I had asked the question of my purpose in those relationships then I would have known. I would have seen how unfair to ask of someone something they simply cannot give. How un-Christlike to care for one on the condition that they will care for you back in like manner.

I’ve learned that I have really good “friends”. Most are those that I am there for. A few are those that we are there for each other and we know how to walk together no matter our circumstances. It’s not a fair ratio but maybe it’s time to get off the expectation of fairness? So that person you are there for has no idea what YOU’RE going through. Maybe they’re not supposed to?

The other day a friend asked me how I was doing. Although we talk almost every day, this friend still asked…how are you friend. My response was that I was good. They had sensed something amiss with me and to that I responded that I had been quit thoughtful and sort of re-assessing my relationships.

And?

I know who I can go to and can count on us being together for the long haul and I know those that it’s a little more one-sided.

And?

The ratio is lopsided for sure.

And?

I’m good!

I’d challenge you to look at your relationships. Are you expecting something of someone they simply cannot give? Are you trying to squeeze them into a role that is not for them? Are you caring for them with the expectation they will or can care for you in the same manner? Does it always have to be fair?

~Brenda Renderos

Move On

When we’ve returned from where or whom we’ve departed, why the surprise?

Did we think that life would pause and hearts stand still?

Or what of memories made, mountains climbed or new things birthed without us?

To depart is our choice. But count deep within ourselves what we depart from when we leave.

In the words of Robert Frost…

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on.”

And I would add… it’s ok! Decide if your arms will open in welcoming back but do not, do not, do not stop living. Life is too short to put on pause.

~Brenda Renderos