When Ruins Sing...

Where my faith and creativity collide! A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ.

The “Why Me” Behind Meaningful Apologies

**This is the last post in “The Story behind the poem – Meaningful Apologies” series.  Scroll past the poem if you have read it already, and pick up with –

My “Why ME.”

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**If you haven’t already read my post, “To Anyone Who Has Ever Been Hurt by a White Person” you can click the link below.

To Anyone Who Has Ever Been Hurt By A White Person

**I included the poem at the beginning of each post in this series of 3,

1)WHY,

2)WHY NOW,

and

3)WHY ME.

 

Meaningful Apologies:

To Anyone Who Has Ever Been Hurt By A White Person

 

I do not expect

a poem to erase the past.

But I do hope this poem

Leaves a beauty mark that lasts.

To the ones who have been hurt,

ignored or left behind

I want to say I’m sorry.

I want to just be kind.

If you were forced onto a ship

And brought here against your will,

Ignorance and evil

Were the ones who wrote that bill.

An apology won’t heal the wound

But I am so sorry anyway.

I won’t ignore the past.

How can I love you well today?

If your land was taken

By white men long ago

There’s no excuse. That’s abuse.

It’s time we let you know.

We’ve treated you as if

Your life was second best.

I cringe in utter horror

A history I detest.

Black lives matter.

Yes they do.

To the Native American community,

I SEE YOU.

The United States of America

Is divided to the core.

But it doesn’t have to stay that way.

God has something more.

Pride comes before a fall.

The fall we have perfected.

A humble heart bows down low

Before the ones they’ve neglected.

I’d like to make a vow

I’d like to start today.

I want to be your friend.

I want to hear what you have to say.

God sees us as family.

We’re related; I’m so glad.

Can we rewrite history,

Bringing good from all the bad?

God is in the business

Of making all things new.

Nothing is impossible;

I’m in.

Are you?

I LOVE YOU- I REALLY DO!

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My “Why me?”

Why would God prick MY HEART to write this, to write this now? Part of the reason I believe He chose ME, for such a time as this, is because of our history together.

I was born at the tail-end of an era, literally the last day of 1969, in a city known for its racial tension, Memphis, Tennessee. I cried my way through the book, The Help, and left a trail of more tears through the movie. I could see myself in Mae Mobley. Aunt Leta was my Aibileen. I have vague memories of Aunt Leta leaving for a while when I was a child, returning after my parents begged her to come back, saying, “Katie needs you.”

After The Help made its debut on the big screen, Memphis capitalized on the opportunity to find and interview people from the generation represented in the film. My Aunt Leta was interviewed. Sadly, as is typical with the media, the write-up did not come out the way it was intended. Many people responded to the article. I have included my response below. I have posted this before but am adding it here again, as it plays into the “WHY ME” behind my poem MEANINGFUL APOLOGIES.

My name is Katie Johnson Wilson and I am one of the children referenced in your article about “The Help”.   I had the blessing of being raised by “2 Mommas” and I have many friends with more stories of love and gratitude like mine.   I had 2 women who invested in me and pointed me to Christ.  They poured their hearts into my life, into everyone in their sphere of influence and continue to do so today.  Watching these matriarchs throughout my life has inspired me to “pay it forward”.   My calling to offer hope to the next generation is reinforced and modeled by the 2 matriarchs in my life–Mom and Aunt Leta.
 
My memories of Memphis are beautiful.  Let’s put Memphis on the map for its love, peace, and unity.  I was so blessed to have grown up in the River City and I want the world to know how much kindness, generosity and goodwill really exists there.  You will find people of every race with open hands, hearts and homes.  Let us take a movie like “The Help” and move forward in a positive response–show love to all people, all the time, in all places, in whatever way we can.  Let us be creative and spontaneous and look for opportunities to reach out, help the oppressed, share words of loving kindness, break the chains of generational bondage and embrace the beautiful legacies that have been left for us.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to embrace my legacy here:
 
MY MATRIARCHS
 
I suppose God knew, that I’d need 2
A gift HE gave to me.
 
They planted seeds, they met my needs-
2 Matriarchs succeed!
 
A little girl with long blond curls
Remembers days of love
 
While one would dress me up for church
Sit beside me on the pew
The other played the AM preacher
and shared her gospel tune.
 
Why God would give me 4 knees bent
I guess I’ll never know.
These women had their work cut out
As I began to grow
 
Mistakes I made
Their love, it stayed.
 
Their knees grow old together
The Lord, HE heard their pleas.
My heart has grown in grace and love
Now I live on my knees.
 
The world would like to separate
Taint the past and stir the hate.
 
My matriarchs are different,
And yet, they are the same.
They’re best friends, sisters, confidants-
United in HIS name.
 
Now I am a mother with 3 who look to me,
Mom, Aunt Leta, Katie-all on bended knee!
Thank you both for your LEGACY!!!!!
 
I suppose God knew that I’d need 2,
A gift HE gave to me.
 
They planted seeds, they met my needs-
2 matriarchs succeed!
 
THANK YOU!  I am eternally grateful!
GoGod
Katie “Two Shoes” Johnson Wilson
(P.S. Aunt Leta calls me “Two Shoes”)
 
Dear God,
I would like to believe that my nickname-Two Shoes- is a reference to “beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news” Romans 10:15:)  May we spend our lives sharing the GOOD NEWS in words and actions.  Help us to use our unique gifts and stories to bring YOU ALL THE GLORY!  May these words light a fire in us to run to the WORD now for ourselves!
GoGod

Aunt Leta is in her 90’s now and was with my mom when she died in 2013. They were best friends who grew old together, after living a long, weathered road, side-by-side. I am writing this because it is my SKEETER MOMENT, my opportunity to give a voice to the voiceless.

In this case, however, I am choosing to apologize on behalf of all the white people who have not, either because they have already died, are too scared, or too prideful. Confession before God brings forgiveness but confession one to another brings healing.

**This painting is one of my many responses to “The Help.” It represents me and Aunt Leta, Mae Mobley and Aibileen.

As I started painting over the last few years, memories of my college art history classes stirred in my heart. I was a psychology major but I was drawn to art like a moth to a flame. I ended up with a minor in Art History by accident. All that to say, when I saw Wind River it uncovered a memory. In 1991 I learned the story behind Mount Rushmore.  The land was Native American sacred ground and it was forcefully taken to etch the faces of white men.  I remember tears streaming down my cheeks in the darkened slide room. I had no idea this symbol of freedom was rooted in oppression.

I remember wanting to do something. I wanted to tell the whole world. Tell the Native American community how sorry I was and ask, “What can I do now?”

I received a phone call the next day that my dad had died. My passion to amend history was put on hold, while I navigated the floodwater of pain and personal lose.

But God reminded me of that passion as I cried my way through the film, Wind River.

His timing is alway perfect and it is never too late to be a part of making a better tomorrow.

I pray, that anyone who has ever been hurt by a white person will hear this poem, Meaningful Apologies, as if it is coming from their oppressor. You deserve a meaningful apology.

Maybe the questions is not, WHY NOW and WHY ME.

Maybe many of us can relate in some way. Asking,

“Why not now; why not us?”

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About Katie Wilson

Where my faith and creativity collide!
A freedom freelancer, prayerful painter and clarion for Christ. #amwriting #Compel
Forgiven and Free
Living a life that says:
COME AND SEE!

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