The tin man: on fear-based silence

metal heart
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Nick Chopper was a real, live lumberjack with an intention to marry his sweetheart, Nimmie. Nimmie, however, is a servant of the wicked Witch. The witch gets wind of this plan, and, as witches are, can’t fathom the thought of losing a servant. To keep her around, the witch enchants Nicks’s axe, causing it to chop off all of Nick’s limbs. Somehow still alive, Nick is rebuilt with tin prosthetic limbs with the help of his friend Ku-Klip. Nick, now known as Tin Woodman (or as many know him, The Tin Man), is now made of all Tin except his heart. Once his friend makes him a heart of tin, he is no longer able to love Nimmie.

In a way, I am the tin man. On previous social media accounts, I’d post articles about both politics and religion, expressing my outrage. When I “came out” as an outraged political progressive in 2010-ish, I immediately lost several contacts on facebook, and also had to remove contacts for my emotional safety. I learned my lesson quickly, and I covered my limbs with tin armour. When I left facebook for a year and came back, I decided to not speak about or react to politics on social media unless it was something I was actively involved in changing. I chose to not keep up with the news because of my sensitive nature, and because I have the luxury not to. My tin armour was finally finished, and it glinted in the sun.

I am part of the problem. Here is my tin heart.

Armour is made for defense and out of fear. I put on the breastplate of Self-Defense because I’m afraid that I won’t say the right words and my own racism will be exposed (because deep down, we are all racist.). I put on the Sandals of Snarky Comments because I fear being called out for my actual opinion. I put on the Helmet of Good Intentions because I fear being seen as heart-hearted and not compassionate. And lastly, I take up the Shield of Abdication because I don’t want to put a line in the sand between me and people who feel differently, and I don’t want to cause division among family and friends. I hunker down in the barracks fully clad and ready for battle, whispering to myself as I polish shield after shield that it’s not my place to tell others what to post or how to react, especially when I’m not posting or reacting myself.

So today, I come out from the barracks, remove my armour, and expose my tin-man heart: I am sad about the terrible things happening around the world, but probably not as sad as I should be. But as a person of privilege, I need to say “these events are not okay” and “these happenings are not just a coincidence” even if I’m not as broken-hearted as God wants me to be. I am not active in any political venues, and I’m afraid to explore how much of my inactivity has to do with my life path…or if it’s sin that needs addressing. I’m at a loss of what to do as a white person living in white suburbia, and I’m ashamed that I don’t have more friends of colour to ask. I’m skeptical if sharing the “correct” article can make a difference, and I fear that even these words will be misconstrued as a distraction from the real issues. I want to spend less time defending that my privilege is “okay” by “proving” that I “understand” my friends of colour when I can’t understand because I am not them, but rather use my privilege to expose things that aren’t normal. I’m wondering what to pray, how to give, and what to ask.

Now, exposed with all my faults, I believe that God can fill the gaps where I am still a jerk. May God oil my Tin Man heart and melt it back into flesh.

If you feel like I do, I encourage you to pray or meditate on these words, “Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me.” I’m not sure how a secular version of this might read, but you can absolutely send out your hope for understanding and positive energy into the world.

When Tin Woodman joins his rag-tag team, they do eventually see the Wizard, defeat the witch, and Tin Woodman is rewarded with a new heart – a silk heart stuffed with sawdust. In the receiving of a heart, we readers see that Tin Woodman had a heart the whole time – even if it was cold and hard. May Christ soften this heart of Tin.

Here are some things you can do:

-Check out Campaign Zero to understand part of the problem.
Find your local representatives. See where they stand and write to them.
-Find minority news sources. I’m honestly still learning the best sources myself (I skimmed The Root today) – there are so many! I am open to suggestions because this is an area where I need to grow!

3 thoughts on “The tin man: on fear-based silence

  1. Yes, yes. YES YES YES.

    Gosh, friend, you write well. And your refreshing honesty is BEAUTIFUL. Being vulnerable is not easy but man alive it’s what the world needs. I have said many times, I want to want more. I care to care more. I wish I wished more. And you know what? That’s an excellent place to start. Asking questions is an excellent place to start. Listening is an excellent place to start. Reading whatever you can get your hands on, seeking out the truth knowing it may cost you relationships and ease… all excellent places to start. Those sitting in silence, frozen in fear will accomplish nothing, nor will they grow. You, my dear, are the opposite. I’ve been praying for real opportunities and they’ve been coming. God is looking for the workers. We don’t need to have the answers upfront (Lord knows I sure don’t), we just need the willingness. And your honesty means more than anything “profound”.

    ❤❤LOVE YOU. ❤❤

    • Thanks so much, Fayelle – you are too kind. ❤ Thank YOU for continuing to gently inform, for speaking out and educating in your own special way. I've sat too long in fear in SO many arenas of my life, and I feel like it's time to move forward. This is one way (admitting my faults and blogging again in general.). I hope God continues to bless your opportunities – we need more voices like you, too!! ❤ Love you more. ❤

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