I cried for you
Remember that time just a few days ago when you saw me stumble into our teacher’s office, eyes glistening, tears on the brink of causing one giant tsunami to crash down my face? Do you remember? You probably do. Maybe you were confused. Maybe you thought how weak I was. Maybe you thought how unnecessary tears were.
Maybe you simply didn’t understand.
You see, I have a pretty good grasp on why I was crying that day. And, no, our fierce debate on a rather controversial topic did not push me over the edge and, no, it wasn’t a pity party for sad, sorry me either. In fact, it had very little to do with me.
I wasn’t crying for me that day. I was crying for you.
I was crying for all the stories of people – people just like you and me, also trying to figure out how to move forward in South Africa, also battling with their own preconceptions – you might have heard but did not actually listen to.
I was crying for all the beautiful and painful and life-giving things you probably miss out on because you’ve chosen to only see certain aspects of South Africa that are comfortable.
I was crying because your pride seemed to have gotten in the way of your empathy. I know you as a kind-hearted person but the things you were saying would express the opposite to any outsider listening in.
I was crying because you’re my friend. Because I care about you. I really do.
I was crying because your knowledge seemed to have built a wall instead of a bridge.
I was crying for your ignorance that you didn’t seem bothered to change.
I was crying because you were blind to your own indifference to the fact that another’s journey may not have been as easy as yours.
I was crying for what could have been – had you stopped talking, let go of your own opinions and listened. Truly listened.
I was crying because, deep deep down, your privileged perspective reminded me of how I too used to see the world.
I was crying for your world of black and white – simple, tangible, logical. Because the world is full of colour – wonderful, awe-inspiring, stomach-knotting colour. And in this world, it doesn’t always make sense. Sometimes there aren’t easy answers.
It may be days later now but I still cry for you. My heart cries out to God for you to discover the colours you’re currently oblivious to. I’ll keep crying for you until things change. And when you reach that point, we can cry together.