FBC was taking an Uber from Union Station in DC to his home in Northern Virginia and his driver was one of those interesting people you often get to meet in Ubers. She was an immigrant from Afghanistan who had come to the U.S. five years ago. She had just finished her Masters Degree in cyber security and was earning extra money by driving for Uber.
They had the kind of conversation that FBC said he wishes could have continued past the cab ride, but one thing she said has stayed with him.
“One thing I’ve learned about American is that you can either eat well or you can sleep well.”
Translation: if you are rich enough to eat well, it happened because you did something that should keep you up at night. And if you can sleep well at night, it’s probably because you’ve lived a life of integrity and it’s kept you from becoming rich.
I’m not sure I agree. (Sadly many immoral people who eat and live like royalty sleep very well at night.) There are many “good people” who have lived prosperous lives without engaging in criminal activity. And yet most of the most financially prosperous people I know are slow to dig deeply into the roots of our success. We who are rich live on land taken from Native Americans. We who are rich (and white) have benefitted from the labor of enslaved people who were owned by our ancestors. We who are rich have benefitted from investments in businesses that privileged shareholders over stakeholders for the last 100 years which has resulted in hurting vulnerable populations and the environment.
And yet – nevertheless (one of my favorite God words) God’s reign lifts up a world in which everyone eats well and sleeps well – if only we love God and our neighbors as ourselves. We just don’t want to.
The not-so-secret thing about this great country is that it’s never been what we say we want to be.
“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”
If we look at all things our nation is divided about today, it all has to do with Justice, Tranquility, common defense, general Welfare and the Blessings of Liberty. If we honestly sought these things for all people, we would be a better nation. And God seems to be calling us to this kind of nation – one in which everyone eats and sleeps well. Happy Fourth of July, friends.
Image is The Flag is Bleeding by Faith Ringgold (1997)