CHI Texas Division CEO Doug Lawson shared the following message in response to the killing of George Floyd and the protests that have followed.
HOUSTON (June 1, 2020). Our mission, the very basis of our ministry, is to make the healing presence of God known in our world while we advance social justice for all in our community—not just those who look like us, think like us, or worship like us.
This is why we come to work every day. It is also why we must not grow complacent and why we should all be outraged by the grave injustice that was committed against George Floyd last week.
I urge you all to continue to identify ways to reach out to our neighbors, seek first to understand, and treat every single person you encounter as worthy of your time and compassion. I also ask that you take a few moments and join me in praying for the healing of our nation.
Reflection written by Joel James, our Senior Vice President of Mission Integration:
Have you ever uttered the phrase, “I can’t breathe”? Have you said it as a metaphor or a simile of your own experience? Where were you? What were you doing? Did you feel as though there was no escape?
The newly born mantra from George Floyd’s dying lips, “I can’t breathe” echoes a still sadness into our lives as we witness the ongoing demonstrations, riots and anger throughout our country and beyond.
This world is indeed in incredible pain, pain that is caused by a longing for equity, hope for a renewed sense of social justice, and an intense desire to be heard. And all of this is fueled by months of isolation, lingering financial ruin and the ever-present fear of being infected by a mysterious virus that we are even now still learning how to fight.
Truly, “I can’t breathe” is a frighteningly appropriate framework for our fear. This man, George Floyd, suffered undue anger for an unknown reason and died a needless death. Yes, anger, frustration and sadness are the right responses. In some ways, it seems easy to understand violence in the face of violence – like an adolescent mind within us that cannot see any other venue for expressing one’s self. In actuality, if we focus on the riots and anger, we risk much more than fire and financial ruin. We risk missing the point.
The police who removed their riot gear and walked alongside the protestors in peace, the leaders who tearfully acknowledged the failure of our own people to protect each other, the local leaders who speak of hope in rebuilding and restoring the hearts of the people as we rebuild and restore the streets. This demonstration of listening and seeing value in every human life is the only pathway for redeeming our world.
In healthcare we have an advantage—hundreds of years of tending to every person as if they were each the most priceless life ever made. Truly, isn’t it the most wonderful gift one life can offer to another, to be seen behind your eyes, past color, clothes, age or station, and see priceless value in your life?
We were not given a ministry to restore minutes of time to people’s lives, rather to encourage the fullness of life to every created person who comes to us perfectly equipped with their own dignity and reason for living. When we respond to that, we are working in love.
If we could step back and see our world from far enough away, maybe like a parent viewing their children, we might allow that some frustration is called for right now since “our children” are not supposed to be discriminated against, subdued, stifled and afraid; but, rather were created to be safe and to be free.
Have you ever uttered the phrase, “I can’t breathe”? Have you said it as a metaphor or a simile of your own experience? Where were you? What were you doing? How did you escape and catch your breath?
Please focus on one another as each life around you will offer you your own greatest opportunity for safety and freedom from fear, from uncertainty, from hardship. We are each other’s best hope. Peace and love for one another are how we will begin to heal and move forward, ensuring social justice for all.
“For they will recognize us by how we love one another…” John 13:35