This weekend I HAD to clean my turtle tank.
When I first got the turtle he had moss on his shell which I just couldn’t get off… and the moss spreads constantly, growing on everything! So I drained the water and changed it so it was clear again. It all looked good until I examined the rocks. They too were covered in moss!
The tank LOOKED clean, but the moss on the rocks meant it wasn’t. As I took the rocks out, the water became greener, and murkier, than it was before I started. Agitating the water had stirred up the moss settled at the bottom of the tank . . . I couldn’t believe how much there was!
The rocks themselves varied in how moss affected they were: There were a few that didn’t have any moss, some were pretty well covered and had to be scrubbed. However, most just had moss sporadically that could be easily wiped off.
In the process of cleaning, I also found a redback hiding that I had to kill. The venomous spider was hiding very well; left alone would have killed any life in the tank.
This whole process got me thinking about racism, inequality, and injustice in general.
It affects everyone in different ways, and you ‘really’ don’t know the extent of its presence until there is agitation.
Can we fix it? Well, it took a long time for me to clean the tank.
I had left the moss unchecked for so long, getting rid of it meant I had to clean each stone individually. Some stones I just wiped to get rid of the moss; while others needed a lot more attention.
I recently heard the term ‘racial trauma’ I think this describes the state of many people today. Trauma is an emotional issue. It makes people sensitive to a particular subject, and it affects everything.
Perspective. Reaction. Even reason.
There are insidious ‘spiders’ lurking in the shadows of every situation, looking for opportunities to further divide and destroy. If there is no healing from racial trauma, then there remains deep-rooted anger, unforgiveness, and bitterness that can grow like cancer, consuming from the inside and killing people’s hope and spirit.
There was also a yabby that co-exists in the tank with the turtle and the fish. I had to avoid getting bitten by him too! I could have been hurt; even while I was trying to help by the creature I was trying to help.
Sometimes those who are willing to be in the spotlight, willing to do the work and deal with issues to move forward, are going to be attacked.
They may not say everything correctly, they may not do everything perfectly, but they are trying to contribute to improvement. Help the move towards change. These courageous individuals and organisations are easy to criticise, but without them, we may see the status quo remain. From people, nations, continuing to suffer in silence.
They are doing what they can, and need to be extended grace, love, and appreciation.
While significant changes need to happen at a higher level, we as individuals should consider the injustice we have each experienced or witnessed, personally, and our response to it. We need to identify our own wounds, to evaluate what we are teaching the next generation, what example we are setting for them in our responses.
Reflecting and working through the trauma and effects of racism, injustice, and inequality will allow us to heal. It will help us focus on positive solutions that can be utilised to move forward.
Most importantly, while my work cleaning the tank was pretty good, even my BEST efforts left traces of moss on everything inside the tank.
Only God will be able to do what needs to be done to truly heal, reconcile, restore, and completely eradicate the effects of racism, injustice, and inequality in every form, in every person, in every corner of the world.
This is not an overnight process. It’ll take time for people and nations to heal from the evil of racial inequality and injustice. Everyone taking personal responsibility to contribute positively to that process, in words and actions, will make achieving that goal more possible.
We all need to do our part to clean the tank.
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