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Hello everyone! What are some of your favorite things to do on Sabbath? I like to watch nature shows, listen to music, and read! :)

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Shatter That




by Lauren Lee Meadows



The lights flick off in the large white church tent. Late-night shoppers bustle on either side of the dirt parking lot. Car engines start and enter the flow of headlights. We—my Mom, Adam, and I—look around; Sean, age 18, and KL, age 17, have left.

“Hey, Mom, I see them in the alley.” Warily I exhale, braiding my American Girl doll’s hair. I am 11 years old.

Her hands on her hips, my mom shouts across the dusty gravel. “Where have you been? I did not bring you here to skip church! You know the rules: only those participating in the Bible study get to ride home in our car.” KL and Sean slowly canter to the car.

“Sorry, Auntie Glenda,” KL mutters with his head down as he and his two brothers get in the backseat.

I flip on the radio to my favorite station as Unshackled hums softly. A funny, unfamiliar smell fills the car like that of a homeless man or the laughing military men I saw in the Hilton hot tub.

My mom turns around. “What do I smell? Where did you go?” She pierces the car with her words and eyes. Tighter, I clench my Elizabeth doll and listen.

“Hard times hit everyone. The man in our story today started drinking at a young age,” the older man gently speaks over the radio.

The back doors fly open. The boys explode out of the car, KL and Adam on my mom’s side, Sean on mine.

“What’s going on, Mom?” I whisper. My eyes glance to my mom, then to Sean, a ticking bomb. He pounds on the hood. He pounds my window. My heart beats faster. Mom shoots out of the car, shouting a stream of words, but she seems far off. Two warm tears fall on my chin, their salty taste in my mouth, and Elizabeth’s hair in my fingers. Sean pounds the back window relentlessly. Shatter! Glass flies. His feet pound away with his brothers close behind.

Hearing the sound, Pastor Chris’s and my Mom’s phones pop out, calling 9-1-1. Open into the long night of racism. Because of one experience, people perceive that every Chuukkee—people form the small third world island cluster of Chuuk, like Sean—exhibits violence. People assume because KL and Sean drink, that Adam drinks, too. Moreover, that everyone in their family drinks and shatters lives. It is not true. One man made one bad choice. People often use cultural differences to justify racism.

Yes, cultural stereotypes differ in races: Caucasian teenage girls living in the suburbs tend to judge their bodies and have eating disorders, or African-American inner-city men tend to use drugs. However, those stereotypes do not mean that all Caucasian girls puke after every meal or that all African-American males use drugs.

Occasionally, in everyone’s life, offense occurs. When people within our own culture offend us, we tend to overlook or forgive their mistakes. Humanity has a hard time moving forward as soon as the offender or offense clash with our own culture. Looking at the event objectively, we would realize that anyone could have the same fault, but the committer intensifies the crime. Society judges them for the unchangeable hometown, family, or genetics.

Subconscious and innate tendencies follow the genetic makeup of his or her biological parents and environmental cues. Home situations affect values, thus negative or positive behaviors run in families. Genetics or prenatal environment affects personalities, creating inner reactions. Individuals can consciously recognize and shatter tendencies like heated glass. Nobody deserves judgment for others’ actions.

“Who got you pregnant? That baby!” Homer shouts.

“A black man raped me. Homer, I can’t do anything about it,” Jane cries.

“You get out of my house. No black baby lives in my house.”

“What about the children?”

“Out!”

Fresh raspberry-covered Robert, age 6, runs to his older sister, Glenda, age 9. They hear the yells, the cries, and Mother’s vase shatters. Robert grabs Glenda so tight that she falls back into the prickly raspberry bushes. Tears run down their faces. God help us, Glenda thinks. Soon after, they move from Illinois to California. Life becomes hard: teasing, harassment, and vandalism run throughout Glenda, Robert, and their younger half brother Jordan’s childhood. This tension defines their lives.

Fifty years pass, the world grows, and they grow. Jordan takes care of Jane in her old age and flies commercial airplanes. Glenda spends every moment of her day helping individuals who are underprivileged, greatly because of race discrimination. Contradictorily, racism ruins Robert’s life. He has no friends and isolates people from him by making racist comments about people he does not know. If only he could take the pain from his childhood and learn from it to treat others with respect, he would find the good in people and this world.

Give each person a fair chance to prove himself or herself. Let that preconception shatter.

Lauren Lee Meadows was raised in Guam. She attended Rio Lindo Adventist Academy and is a psychology and secondary education major with an emphasis in biology at Union College, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

***********

Sidebar: Race versus Smart

Racism can hurt you and others. At the same time, you must be smart with whom you trust. Here are a few scenarios to see if you are racist, smart, or unsafe in your judgments of people.

1. An African-American homeless man asks you for money on the side of the road. You are alone, walking home from a friend’s house. What do you think to yourself?

a. Run! He is going to mug me.

b. I wonder if he will still be here when my mom gets home. I could get a bag of food together.

c. Oh, it is so cold out here, maybe he can sit on our porch, and I will get him some hot coffee.

2. You have a friend whose parents came from Mexico and moved next door a couple months ago. Every time she visits, you find some of your stuff missing. When you visited her house, you found your scissors, which went missing a month ago. She says that she just needs them for school. What do you do?

a. Leave and call the police. They should not even be in America! You don’t know why you trusted her.

b. Talk to her. Explain why she can’t take your stuff without asking, and meet in places where your stuff is not around, such as a park.

c. Say and do nothing, she needed it more than you.

3. You have been dating this Pilipino guy/girl for a couple of weeks, and you put a picture up on Facebook of you and him/her. Your aunt comments on it with some very rude words. What do you do?

a. Break up with the guy/girl; she is my elder and very smart.

b. Remove the comment and talk to her directly, asking her not to say those sort of things, and talk to your girlfriend/boyfriend about why she may have said those rude words.

c. Run away with the guy/girl because no one will ever accept you here.

Answers

Mostly “a” – Racist

It can be hard to accept everyone, but everyone deserves respect as human beings no matter what. Read Luke 6:27–31.

Mostly “b” – Smart

You are doing good; keep showing God’s endless love even when it is hard. Read Matthew 25:34–36.

Mostly “c” – Unsafe

While we want to treat people with respect, you must remember to take care of yourself and not get hurt. Read Matthew 4:5–7.





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