Thursday, July 30, 2015

There, But For the Grace of God.....Go You


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"There, but for the grace of God, go I." That has always been my touchstone in dealing with other people even though I'm an agnostic who has no particular belief in God.

I never had an abortion but I wanted no more children after I had my son. I tried to make sure I never got pregnant but if something unexpected had happened, like my birth control failing, I would have had an abortion. I would have made arrangements just as soon as I knew. I loved my son and I think I was a good mother but I knew I was not by instinct the maternal type. Some women are, bless them. They are the ones who cry when their child starts school. That wasn't me. They are the ones who suffer from Empty Nest Syndrome. That wasn't me either.

People can have 20 children if they choose and although I think it is disgusting, it's their business not mine. But it is not their business how I choose to handle my own reproductive choices.

I was never on any type of assistance - no food stamps, no free lunches, no HUD housing. That wasn't because I wasn't poor enough to qualify at times but that I was fortunate enough to have a family able and willing to pick up the slack when I faltered. But you can bet, I would have applied for all those things if my folks hadn't been there to see that my son and I had food to eat and a place to live.

I'm not African-American. The police officers I've come in contact with have always treated me kindly. I never had to give my son "the talk" about obeying cops instantly even if you think they are being unfair, never backtalk them even if they are disrespecting you, don't, for God's sake, put your hands in your pockets, be submissive....and even that might not be enough. I've never had to worry that my son might be shot and killed simply for walking home from the store at night with iced tea and skittles wearing a hoodie because all that constitutes "suspicious behavior" when your skin is black.

I'm not an undocumented worker so I didn't come to the United States to find a better life. I've never had to live in fear that immigration officers would come pounding on the door to arrest me and deport me back to Mexico. I never had to slip out the back door of an employer's business to keep from getting caught without papers. I never had to worry about what would happen to my children if that happened.

I'm not Muslim so I never had to feel what it's like to be lumped into a collective mass under the heading "Islamic" and be judged by the worst examples of my faith even though I'm nothing like them and only want to live a peaceful life practicing my faith.

I've never had to walk into any government building which I help support with my taxes under a banner that symbolizes my past history as a slave and more recent history of a little girl trying to go to school as white adults scream vicious epithets at her and even more recent history of children shot dead in parks.

I'm not gay so I've never been discriminated against because of my sexual orientation and treated like a second-class citizen for wanting to marry the person I love or service in my country's military.

I've never been called a nigger or a terrorist or a queer or a lazy moocher or an illegal or a baby-killer. But had I been born under different circumstances, I could have called any of these things. I try to put myself in the shoes of others and imagine how they feel because, there, but for the grace of God, go I. And you know what? There, but for the grace of God, go you too.