For me to be at a loss for words is not exactly normal.
But that's a bit how I'm feeling right now. And as a rather prototypical extrovert, if there is anything that makes me feel uncomfortable, it's not knowing what to say.
My podcasting partner, Lawrence Henderson, always talks about the importance of "getting comfortable with being uncomfortable." I keep reminding myself of that being uncomfortable is part of the point.
I don't know what to say.
In last week's episode of Grow or Die, Lawrence and I talked about empathy, judgement, privilege and leadership. As protests have spread (around the globe), I haven't been able to stop thinking about our conversation.
But I don't know what to say.
Majora Carter once said, "If we are going to be part of the solution, we have to engage the problems.”
The question of how exactly to engage "the problem" feels overwhelming, because it's a layer cake of issues that are not distinct, isolated or disentangleable. And once you add in 400 years of history and rancorous partisanship, the overwhelm can quickly turn to paralysis.
What is there I can say?
In last week's podcast, I told a story about how I used to worry when my former business partner would drive my car, because I was worried about what would happen if he got pulled over by a Texas cop who questioned why a black man was driving my not-very-subtle red sports car. (Something I never felt compelled to worry about when my white male friends drove my car.)
Lawrence recounted a conversation he had with his wife in which he asked her to make sure that, if anything ever happened to him, that she not allow him to be discredited as having PTSD from his time serving in the Middle East.
Why do we allow a situation where someone has to say that?
I hate that I don't know what to say.
Since getting to Miami, I have met some phenomenal people, some talented entrepreneurs and some legitimately badass women who are inspiring, passionate and unapologetically carving their own path. Interestingly, most of them are African-American.
I don't know what I can say to them that is useful.
So, I suppose, when you don't know what to say, all you can do is ask: What can I do for you?
I wish you all a week of some well-earned discomfort as we struggle with things that are too big for any one of us to ever solve alone. And if there is someone whose heart and mind you can ease by reaching out, please consider doing it.
You don't need to know what to say.
Start by listening.