MISSION: Find and eat the sugar cubes! As kids, we spent HOURS playing church hide and seek. To be fair, we felt like finding sugar cubes was a simple extension of the game. Parish halls = coffee. Coffee = sugar. Simple math.
When were really young, sugar cubes were still a thing and our dad was a visiting minister. We had many new territories to explore. We tested unlocked doors, snuck into nurseries and scoured cupboards. The entire campus was our playground.
The adults had their meetings in the only “off limits” play spots. Now that I think about it, they probably had unlimited sugar cubes on their meeting tables. Nevertheless, our mission was important: to find the surplus, forgotten sugar. I can’t remember if I thought our hunts were wrong or right. I just remember the drive of it all. Along with my twin Rachel, and big brother Joshua, we were a team. United. It took effort to find the sweetness, which we knew had to be there.
I think about the events of the last months. I’ve written, edited and had articles ready to roll out. However, the content didn’t seem appropriate. My drafts included inadequate, sweeping statements and didn’t work for a world experiencing grief. My words fell short; none of them felt remotely adequate to relate to or comfort hurting individuals and unique struggles.
In writing desperation, I remembered a childhood sugar craving. I chose sufficiency and not satisfaction and settled for a shaker instead. I tilted my head backward, shook… and SALT poured directly down my throat. Forced sugar in mind, I worried about rushing a “forced” article that could push distaste down throats.
With this article, I still have insecurities. Brave Tutu has never claimed to be a political podium and it never will. The truths of lost lives due to racial heartbreak, terrorist groups, hardworking officers, flawed systems and disheartening elections remain. The shootings, the racism that still exists, the attacks on families watching fireworks in France, the gun violence blocks away from my apartment… Sadly, I could go on.
These are BIG deals. I wrestled with our Brave Tutu mission to take courage in delight and discover power in small moments. Thankfully, commenters mention that Brave Tutu is more than “rainbows and glitter.” However, in the midst of true, complex and deep hurt, how can zooming in on one story make a difference?
I’m not sure. However, I would directly violate core beliefs of Brave Tutu if I didn’t try. For me, it has come to finding those “sugar cubes”. I’m looking into the news for information, sure. But more than that, I am testing doors. Seeing if they are locked. Seeing if anyone knows how to get in. What cupboards of conversations and communities hold the answers for sweetness. In a lot of ways, I’m testing myself. As a white female, I am nervous; I can feel paralyzed by fear of saying the wrong thing. I told myself: I’ll just be a listener. Then I kept replaying a black friend’s words— “What’s most hurtful is the silence. The times when people are losing their lives and I see my friends, who claim they care, saying nothing.” As I mentioned earlier, I’ve struggled to find the “right” words; it’s taken me over three weeks to write this article and I’m still anxious about its shortcomings.
Anxious or not, I want to stand with those hurting. I confess ignorance, but do not excuse it. I seek knowledge, understanding AND sugar. I have to remind myself of coffee/sugar math. Where there are people there is goodness. Sure, I’ve gotten into conversations that poured salt down my throat. I felt disheartened. But I’ve also had interactions, like attending KLRU’s ATX Together Civic Summit, that offered small cubes of sweetness. As with our article Untied Bow, I never leave feeling “all is well.” However, I have a taste and a hope for more.
Like with the cubes, I don’t know if I’m doing things right or wrong, but I’m not going to sit stagnant. Brave Tutu doesn’t claim all is well and perfect. It does claim powerful significance in the small and encourages, urges even, for others to pull up a bench to the conversation. I’m asking for this from you.
How have you journeyed, opened up cupboards and searched recently? What have you found? Please share this article along with other dialogues, or sugar cubes, that could cultivate helpful conversation. Trust me, I know this can take courage. But…
Your Brave Tutu (You’re Brave Too-Too)