America, the Bag Lady

Bag Lady Pic.jpg

I have a problem with purses. I put too many items in them. And I get way too comfortable with them and then all of a sudden I’m pulling out old receipts, gum wrappers, coupons, stray kittens…

Okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but I do know that I have a tendency to pick things up along the way in life and get too busy to do a purge.

Every spring, we can see articles, videos online about getting fresh, organized and clutter-free for the season. But how about our own personal baggage? We all tend to hold on to not only material possessions that don’t have value anymore. We also hold onto the past. Sometimes it’s because of trauma, unresolved issues/past hurts, but it weighs us down. It keeps us from seeing things clearly. It reminds me of a song from singer Erykah Badu called “Bag Lady”:

Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold onto, is you, is you, is you

One day all them bags gon’ get in your way
One day all them bags gon’ get in your way
I said one day all them bags gon’ get in your way
One day all them bags gon’ get in your way, so pack light,
Pack light, mm, pack light, pack light, oh ooh

Bag lady you gon’ miss your bus
You can’t hurry up, ’cause you got too much stuff

How long will we carry on the baggage of the sin of our fathers without repentance? If we never examine what we’re carrying and let it go, we can’t prosper in peace.

I can’t count how many times I’ve read comments from people that say slavery was so long ago and to just get over it. But slavery was not the end of racism. Life is never that cut and dry. That didn’t end the thoughts and opinions that were ingrained in our culture for hundreds of years. It doesn’t go away. It’s a process. The conscience of this country was seared, made numb for centuries to unthinkable atrocities, and we are to believe that Emancipation Proclamation solved our race issues? It didn’t. If you want to read more about our history after slavery, you can read my post entitled “What If Racism Were Real?” here:

If we stopped schlepping along with this abscess and actually treated our history as if it weren’t a sacred cow, we can make great progress in our world. The United States’ timeline is filled with great highs and lows. Just like our own lives, not everything from the past is pleasant, and some things are given to us by birthright. We didn’t start the problem, but it’s incumbent on the present generation to right wrongs. It’s okay to set the weight down and deal with, no matter how uncomfortable or awkward it starts off. Because we haven’t been dealing with race on a national level, we all are walking around untreated. It’s becoming a malignant cancer that metastasizing into the fabric of all of our lives. Do you wonder why you can’t get a rest about all the news stories tied to racism? Could it be that because we’ve let it go so unchecked, so unaddressed, that it’s infected our nation to the point that it has bled into our everyday lives? We’ve needed intervention for a long time. To stop. To heal. To amend. To grieve. To talk. I think God has been holding a mirror up to our nation and we’ve been turning our back on it and Him. But the fallout will not go away, and He knows that. But will we surrender our burden, pray to the Lord for help and let Him check our heart? He can show us what we can do to move forward — without the baggage.

“Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper,
but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” Proverbs 28:13

“a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,” Ecclesiastes 3:6

“If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” James 4:17




What If Racism Were Real?

There’s been a subtle narrative happening for quite some time. That maybe we are really in a post-racial society. That people don’t really see color. That black people just pull the race card for anything. But in my best Rod Serling voice, “What if black people were really telling the truth? What if racism was happening in America every day? Are you willing to take a trip with me into the Racist Zone?”


When I was pre-teen girl, I remember reading that some male doctors believed that women didn’t have cramps during their period. Somehow the pain women were experiencing were all in their pretty, little heads. Now, 30 years later, that’s so laughable to even think the medical profession thought that was true. But that actually gained merit in the medical community. And from my own personal experience, there is NO WAY what I experience is purely a delusion. And it’s now widely accepted that the pain women say they have is accepted. But why were men dictating and declaring to women what they were experiencing with their own bodies? So why are some people, who don’t walk around with black or brown skin, questioning the merit of personal experiences? And I get that folks can lie and that in the age of the bewildering Smollet situation, it makes it that much more unbelievable.

But let’s entertain the possibility that racism still exists. That’s not to say that things have not improved, but considering the trajectory of the timeline of experience for African Americans in this country, the true LEGAL freedom has only happened since the Civil Right era (and that’s still up for debate considering many changes in the laws). After slavery, there were laws put in place that could be named Slavery Lite Legislation. Jim Crow laws were codified ways to keep black citizens from receiving the full rights and benefits that their counterparts received. Many of these laws were in effect until 1965. So real steps to move impediments away were not that long ago. You can read more about these laws here:

So can we honestly intellectually believe that something that was so recently addressed in the past by the government, has been eradicated? A belief system that is so embedded in the foundation of our country and played a great part in the wealth of America does not simply go away because laws are applied. Households across America have been purposefully segregated and false and hateful ideas have been passed down the generations with large swatches of the nation hardly mingling at all.

For many, saying anything against America is likened to knocking over a sacred cow (pun intended). But how are we to become an even “more perfect union” if we don’t allow space for self-reflection? How does the United States, after such enormous changes, continue to limp on as if everything is fixed, the playing field is leveled? The tone and tenor of the country has been set for hundreds of years, especially in the South. And laws don’t change hearts. Sound a little familiar? Because in the Old Testament, laws were the rules that Jews lived by to please God (and many still do today). But those laws were never enough, never meant to be enough and Jesus was truly the fulfillment of the love of God toward man. Is it possible that just as Jesus came to change the hearts of man, putting the law in their hearts, that America hasn’t done the necessary work to be more of the country it claims to be? Is it possible that even though legal revision sought to repair the damage of evil law-based actions more than a mea culpa is required to be a fully healed nation? Have we considered what the Lord thought about the period of time of slavery, Jim Crow, let alone the treatment of Natives here in America? Taking politics out of the whole discussion and considering the heart of God: Do we believe God was not greatly grieved by the treatment of His own creation that was created in His own image?

This is much bigger than politics, it’s about reconciling the sins of this country and marrying it to the true ideals that this nation was founded on. The founding fathers were flawed with many blind spots, just like we are, but I believe the ideas in the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were inspired by God to build a better democracy. That’s pure speculation on my part, but I’d like to think that we have given people worldwide inspiration and led many countries toward a better way to govern, despite our human flaws.

What if the very thing we’re ignoring and scared to do — have conversation — is the very thing that we all need to start to the journey to heal? What do you think about race relations in America? Do you believe there’s a spiritual element to this conversation? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section below. ~THB