Sermon on Charlottesville

Charlottesville is very much on my mind right now. I can’t express the depth of my horror that the slogans my grandparents’ generation risked their lives to fight are being invoked on American soil–that “Americans” have killed and harmed other Americans in the name of Nazism. I feel tiny, and embattled, and trapped when I see the news. I feel like the country is being taken over by these hateful pieces of Nazi filth, and my friends and neighbors are threatened just as surely as I am. And this is all happening while I’m at my physical worst. I want nothing more than to line up shoulder to shoulder with other black belts and square off with these deluded, benighted, evil idiots–instead, I’m stuck fighting the cancer in my body, not my country.

However, I’m also thinking about Charlottesville in light of a single, odd coincidence: both times that beautiful place has been afflicted with these Nazi protests, I’ve been in the hospital right there, having imaging done to see if my cancer has spread. My husband and young daughter have been with me both times. And though all hell was breaking loose just a few streets over, we neither felt nor heard a single ripple of it. We were surrounded each time by good people doing good work…just doing their jobs, like they do every day, fighting cancer with me, a person they don’t really know.

So I’m still willing and able to hold signs, to write my governor, or otherwise participate in whatever form of peaceful protest my fellow RVA folk decide to use when the Nazis come to Richmond (because yes, they’re coming). But I think the best message I can impart right now, in this time of anger and sadness, is this: good folk still outnumber these Nazis, many times over. They’re still doing their jobs every day. And with sustained attention and effort–like the good cells in my body fighting the cancerous few–we’ll all be okay.

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    1. That’s the thing that blows my mind the most: I have no doubt every neo-Nazi in that “protest” has been affected by cancer, be it in the family or even personally. So how, in the name of all that’s holy, can someone look cancer in the face and still waste time thinking, “I hate that stranger over there because he looks different”? Isn’t life hard enough all by itself?

      1. I’ve been affected by both cancer AND Nazis (a dozen of my family members were killed in the Holocaust), so I genuinely hate both. I just don’t have any compassion in my heart for the worms who made the choice to be there spewing baseless hatred — whether they have had disease touch their lives, or not.

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