Over the past week, I have discussed, and written and read and prayed. But not cried.
Today. I finally cried. I wept.
I read the account last night of Philando Castile. How he did everything right – had a job, announced he was carrying, had a permit. And yet, he was shot 7 times. Seven. And they say within 62 seconds of the traffic stop. And while the officer was charged – he was charged with second-degree manslaughter.
Then, I read these words from a dear friend describing how she felt – how she feels – after hearing about yet another story of a brown woman being assaulted by a white man.
A man. Let that sink into your mind and hearts for a moment.
A man pushed a young black woman off the sidewalk at a university. (in Texas)
A man gave the “heil, Hitler” salute as a means of intimidating a pregnant brown woman. (in California)
A man yelled out to a young woman at a gas station, “I’m so tired of you uppity f$@$ niggers. (in Georgia)
A man spit in the face of a black woman walking on a trail. (in Indiana).
What protectors? What coverings? What chivalry and concern?
I keep hearing Sojourner Truth’s words from over 150 years ago, “Ain’t I a Woman??”
I looked at my daughters. And I thought of the stories of my grandmother as she told us about her grandmother escaping from her slave owners, surviving on roots and grubs as they made their way to freedom. I think of my other grandmother who would look mournfully into the air talking about her brothers who were killed under mysterious circumstances in Mississippi. I think of story, upon story, shared generation after generation about injustice, unfair treatment.
And I looked at my daughters and I wept.
Because this is not the America I expected for them, and Lord help, for my husband and son.
I keep praying, asking God to allow this to be a nightmare that we will one day wake up from. That He will intervene and stop this train. Because really, only He can.
I wept because I keep seeing people who aren’t, and probably won’t be affected by these actions telling those who are and will, “Don’t worry, God is in control. This is God’s will. Just pray.” I’m hurt. Hurt because in their own times of sadness and concern, when facing uncertainty and experiencing difficulty, when concerned about their children and what will come of them – I never heard them say, “God is in control.” They wanted action. First. They wanted empathy and wanted someone to sit with them in their grief. First. They wanted someone to understand, to hug them, to encourage, to acknowledge their pain and fear, first. Then, they were ready to hear what they already knew was true, “God is in control.”
I wept because I keep having conversations with people who don’t get it, who don’t understand and don’t want to (this is the worst – I can deal with the first two as we can work thru that.). I wept because I see people say they are tired of hearing about this- about race and “get over it already”. Consider this…we are tired of living it! I want to be able to go to the gas station, get a coffee and go on a walk without concerns. I want to be able to mind my own business and leave people to mind their own. I want to be able to go places without being suspicious. We are at a place where human beings – Americans – are choosing to wear safety pins to let other human beings know that they are safe.
What have we done? What are we doing??
I wept because there is a battle within me. A mind that sees the things it sees, and hears what it hears, that battles to be reminded of basic truths – about God, about who He is. It battles to be renewed, it doesn’t want to be captured, it struggles to focus on things that are good, pure, lovely when things that assault it are “dirty, sinister and nasty.”
I wept because I can relate to her words. Like my friend, Mel. I’m tired y’all.
And today, I weep. I weep for innocence lost, for hearts that are broken, for fears that assail, for hopes that are dashed, for uncertain futures.
I weep, desperately holding onto David’s words in Psalm 30, “Weeping endures for a night, but joy comes in the morning.“