Listening to Rev. Dr. Allan Boesak, South African anti-apartheid activist, this weekend was arduous. Not only because of his ability to call me to my conscience, but because of the difficulties currently being endured in South Africa. It is heart-breaking to think that much of the what so many white, black, colored, and Indian people sacrificed for in the 1980’s is at stake. I didn’t really want to hear this.
I can write more about some of the details of which he spoke in time, but right now I am sitting here in the Chicago-O’Hare airport debriefing with my fingers, so that will have to wait. I am fortunate to have margin to write, though I wish some of you were hear to talk to.
Being with Boesak makes me think we don’t really know what we are made of until we have been willing to risk losing everything. I don’t know about you, but I have never gone to jail. I have had exactly zero assassination attempts. I did not grow up under apartheid.
I have such a ridiculously privileged life. And so often I remain silent when I hear about injustice.
Sometimes I feel my life of privilege invalidates whatever I might have to say. What do I have to offer that has been born out of oppression, discrimination, true poverty, or any other real life injustice? What do I have to say to people like him – even if I want to support an end to violence? I have no “street cred”.
Boesak reminded us this weekend that there is a difference between people who put their hearts in a struggle and those who put their hearts and bodies into it. Peace and justice work may begin with a broken heart, but that is only the beginning.