Raise Your Eyes

How many times
I have taken myself for granted
The power I hold
My opinions
My voice
My endless opportunities
This comes from somewhere
Before me
My ancestors stole the choices of others
To make more for themselves
And me
<I am so sorry>
Built upon beautiful brown and black backs and tears
Pure bodies forced broken on our land
Whose blood is more innocent than white skin
And their spirits
And the consequences of shame and hate
Live on
Embedded into systems and statistics
Whether I or you see the cause or not
I get the fake benefit
Of doubting from afar
Wearing my white skin like a question
I can afford to ask
With time and space to process
My own role and racist viewpoints
Another privileged space
I shrink inside my own life
Where my spirit grieves
So much to learn
Move toward-

Spirit asks me to raise my eyes and breathe back to my whole self and in turn, you.

Jesus sees and lived your reality more than I ever will.
Father weeps, holding close centuries of your tears
I will not give up on you
<Like you were (are) given up on>
I will not just yell truth louder
<Crowding out your needed voice>
I will not stop moving into your pain
<Because I am complicit in causing it>
I will not just search for an opinion
<When you could not have one>
I will try (and fail) to see you
<and try again and try again>
I will stand tall in my skin
<like you should always be able to do>
I will stand up with you
<whatever the cost-high or low>
I will search for ways to tear down and rebuild with you
<taking your lead>
I will sacrifice
<even while knowing that’s a choice you don’t have>
I will learn from you
<Turn off my voice to create space for yours>

Hannah Umphress lives outside Denver, Colorado, with her husband and two children. She enjoys finding and contributing to the beauty around her in the form of authentic poetry, a meaningful conversation, or a well-placed joke. She believes God might be a giggler and that it’s good for the soul to have inside jokes with Him.