By Jennifer Wallace
I have been struggling with my article. Too many ideas have been in the forefront of my mind. I have been acutely conscious of my struggle as I see the news, as I teach in my classroom, and as I sit with my mom. So I decided I needed to wear my thoughts. I am trying them out and putting them on.
It is September 2016.
Babies are being pulled out of rubble in Aleppo. The world watches and does not watch as Syria is bombarded. I put the images out of my mind. I put on my clothes and step out of my house knowing that my children and my family are safe. I want to put on compassion when I encounter kids today.
Videos and stories of unarmed black men in the United States being shot by police keep surfacing. Peaceful protests turn violent. “Black Lives Matter” is a mantra that could have come out of the civil rights movement in the 1960s and we are in 2016. I wonder what my cousins’ boys put on when they leave their homes every day, acutely aware of how dark skin and certain clothing might be perceived.
It is September 29 and our school is doing our Terry Fox Run.* Today my kids put a name on the sticker that goes on their chests—and the name is too close to our hearts. It reads “Terry ran for me. I am running for Grandma Ruth.” I put her name close to my heart and hold it there tightly.
It is September 30 and I put on an orange t-shirt to acknowledge the experiences of residential school survivors, those who did not survive and the generations who have felt the effects of that legacy. My putting on a t-shirt is not much, but it is something. Because every day I put on my “backpack of privilege”** that I get to wear because of Treaty 6.***
What do I put on when I am faced with my own struggles? When the 10th anniversary approaches of my son’s arrival and departure what will I wear? When the 30th anniversary comes of being diagnosed with diabetes what will I put on? What do I put on when friends and family come with their wounds, their pains, and their struggles?
I hope I will put on the words Paul wrote in his letter to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 6: 10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
I know I have something significant to put on from my wardrobe. What is she wearing? Princess Warrior it is.