2 Wise Women and 3 Peaces

when a mistake turns into something beautiful

Sometimes I have some unnatural desire to find the silver lining in bad situations… so with that disclaimer said, please bear with me for a moment or two as I try to articulate something I’ve been feeling.

We are living in a strange time – a worldwide pandemic, a divided nation and a time of political insanity. Yet, despite incredible loss all around us, there are some things of profound value and beauty that are springing up. I think God knew how much I would need Brené Brown’s podcast, Unlocking Us for a time such as this, as the world appears to crumble in pieces around me.

When I saw the quote above credited to Brené, I was in awe of her wisdom. Then I learned that these words were in fact the wisdom of another woman, Sonya Renee Taylor. Dammit!! Is it just me or do Black women keep telling us that this happens to them?! Their wisdom, knowledge and ideas being claimed as someone else’s!

In the third episode of season 2’s Unlocking Us podcast, Brené and Sonya discuss how this misattribution brought them together and started their conversation with each other. And let me just say, as a result… we all win.

I’m still trying to unpack all of the ideas that Sonya is teaching and have a feeling that it may take a life-time to actually understand and embrace it all. Do yourself a favor and just listen to the podcast, okay?!

In the meantime, here’s the simplified cliff-notes version: Systemic oppression and hierarchies in our society are built on our own self-hate, self-loathing and shame. Marketing constantly tries to remind us of this fact… that if we just buy this car, or skincare line or {insert any mundane thing} we will be or feel good enough. Sonya calls these systems “ladders” and suggests that the only way to dismantle the ladder is radical self-love for ourselves and others.

In my own life, this aligns with my own ideas about my faith – with what I believe about Jesus and what I’m called to if I desire to follow Him. That there are SO many broken things in this world – systems of oppression and hatred – but that as a Christ-follower, I’m called to a radical love of all people. I believe that God is a loving Father that will use regular, willing people to breath life into things that are broken… but I digress.

Later in the interview, Brené asks Sonya about something she calls the “three peaces” or the “three foundational things you’ve got to grapple with in order to even begin this inquiry.”

Here they are:
1) Make peace with difference.
2) Make peace with not understanding.
3) Make peace with your own body.

It’s kind of crazy how these “three peaces” or 3 pieces of wisdom are so simple and yet so profound. And it makes me wonder how differently things would look if we were willing to live like we believe those things!!

I’m gonna have to say, I’m with Sonya. It’s a weird thing to call a “silver lining,” but this global pandemic has shined a light on all the hideous ladders – systems of racism, misogyny and nationalism – in our country. Are we willing to be honest about all the inequity that’s showing up or do we value our own comfort more? Are we willing to show radical love to ourselves and to others to build equity and beauty? I imagine it’s likely to be a life-long process, this willingness to sit in discomfort – to not just attempt to “get back to normal.” I’m not sure about you, but I’m looking forward to kicking some ladders over. I’m hoping you’ll consider joining me.