Friday, June 19, 2015

We Have a Problem.

Hi, I'm Michelle. I'm twenty-three years old. I have six kids. I have a Sonic problem.

Now, Sonic isn't always a problem. In fact, it's mostly a problem from June to August. Any other time of the year all I want is coffee. All the coffee. Way too much coffee.

The problem probably started as soon as some of my friends in high school could drive. Being poor teenagers and having parents who (reasonably) only allowed us a minimum amount of hang out time without supervision, summer days were spent wasting all of our money on the gas money it took to drag Main Street with the windows down, which was done by whipping through the Sonic parking lot as our turn-around point. And if dragging Main isn't cool enough on its own, it is so much cooler with a big ol' Sonic drink in your hand. The cultural phenomenon of today is to have a grande or venti Starbucks cup in hand, as part of your ensemble, as a fashion accessory (don't believe me? Check out any "outfit inspiration board" on Pinterest). Strutting into whatever place you went during the summer with your cup in hand and being asked "what you're drinking," as if you might as well be delicately swooshing wine in a glass, was the stuff of summer vacation. If you had more than two flavors in your drink, though, you were gross. No one actually likes that, you're just trying to get attention.

I have had the same signature drink since I was fifteen. I have deviated for a time to make sure I didn't get burnt out on my signature drink, and though some were good, they were not the same as my drink. I have gone through seasons of vanilla Coke, vanilla Sprite, raspberry vanilla Sprite (this is a close second to my first choice), and cranberry vanilla Sprite if I had somehow worn myself out on coffee around Christmas time. When I was pregnant I CRAVED vanilla Coke like crazy (but didn't drink it often...if I did, it was usually because it was a better option than clawing someone's eyes out). Green apple vanilla sprite was decently okay when I tried it.

My signature drink is vanilla Dr. Pepper. I am getting to an age when I don't want pop very often, especially something as sweet as Dr. Pepper. Adding the vanilla to it seems crazy, I know. But something about it is just...luxurious.

When my husband got in the car with me today, he said, "...did you buy another Sonic drink?"
"You have a problem. Really. No more pop."

And the unfortunate truth is that he's right. Not just because pop is terrible for you (I have watched a million documentaries about how horrible sugar is and ESPECIALLY soda), because while it has dramatically lessened my general soda consumption, it hasn't stopped it all together. Honestly, Sonic drinks are a luxury that help me pretend my day is better than it is. It's a little filter I can put on my thoughts just like a filter on an Instagram picture.

I need to be honest with you all. The truth is, I didn't write this post because I care deeply about my Sonic drinks. I wrote this post because it was easier to write about then what has happened in Charleston, and McKinney, and all over our country. There have been so many articles and Facebook posts and what not that are so eloquently written that I have "liked," but haven't been able to come close to even trying to echo.

For nine months I raised a black child and couldn't believe the blatant racism I encountered. It wasn't as news-worthy as open firing on a black church, but it shocked me. Maybe we are all still trying to find the line where racism starts and ignorance ends, but I think Jen Hatmaker said it perfectly on her Facebook page: "...when we see evil racism in front of us, we name it, we expose it, we condemn it." We can't sweep it under rugs or ignore it where it grows into the senseless violence we have been seeing.

I'm not going to pretend as if I know the answers to this world's racism problem, and especially this country's racism problem. There are days when I look at the world and just think, "Please, come, Lord Jesus," because it is truly beyond fixing, at least by us. I am also aware that if me, a privileged white lady, can see the problem, how much more have my brothers and sisters without the benefit of white skin seen? When are we going to start seeing the value of people in spite of color, gender, or culture?

I have read a million Facebook statuses (stati?), blog posts, Buzzfeed lists, etc. I know this post may just feel like one more to read. In less than 48 hours, the Charleston shooting is probably starting to feel like old news, and the McKinney pool incident was like, forever ago, right? No. It was last week.

I do have a Sonic problem; but, really, I have a filter problem. Most of us do. We want to believe racism isn't something we encounter, and we shake our heads at the racism we see online as if it is distant. I wish it were distant, but I know it's not now. I'm not sure that adding my voice will make a noticeable difference in the racism problem, but adding our voices will change our personal worlds--our communities, our children. God has given us stewardship over this world, and as long as we silently watch his people being abused and mistreated, we aren't taking our responsibility seriously.

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