My soul is troubled beyond words. Sporadically throughout the day I have found myself gasping for breath. As I work, I’m listening to house music because it’s the only music that drowns out the world around me. I’m not given to drinking, but what I really want to do is have a drink…and talk…talk until I run out of words, until my throat is so dry that I become hoarse and my words come out as little more than a whisper, but instead I pray. I staved off the tears for a while by avoiding the news and the daily tabloid television entertainment news shows. I have been watching old movies and PBS, or anything else that helps me to avoid the subject at hand. I waited 24 hours before I checked Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. I have prayed more in the last couple of days than I can even express. That’s saying a lot because I already pray incessantly. But Sunday morning I was caught off guard. With no notice I began to cry. No, I began to sob uncontrollably. Please know that I often cry for many things: the death of the innocent, the weak, the mentally ill, and the less fortunate; the birth of babies because they don't know what kind of world they're being born into; for many things, but this was different for me. It almost felt personal.
My heart is broken for a life that was lost for no real discernible reason that I can come up with, in spite of all of the commentary to the contrary. My heart is broken because a human life, a young boy, who only did what young boys and girls have done for years—walk to the store and then back home. My heart is broken because from the day my nephews were born—20 yrs ago, 18 yrs ago, 15 yrs ago—I knew their lives were at risk, at no fault of their own. I pray for them several times a day. They should have been born girls, all of them. Then, of course, there would have been other worries, but never a concern that they would be gunned down in the street like animals or that they would be hated merely because they live and breathe. My heart is broken because this is the 21st century and the “Strange Fruit” has taken on a different form, yet it remains strange none-the-less. My heart is broken because there is a clear divide that says death is deserving even if you've never maimed, murdered, or robbed. It is deserving because you exist…because you live and breathe.
Moments like this bolster my faith because the Bible says: “…that in the last days critical times hard to deal with will be here. For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, self-assuming, haughty, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, disloyal, having no natural affection, not open to any agreement, slanderers, without self-control, fierce, without love of goodness, betrayers, headstrong, puffed up [with pride], lovers of pleasures rather than lovers of God, having a form of godly devotion but proving false to its power; That’s from 2 Timothy 3:1-5, if you’re wondering. I’m not going to turn this into a spiritual or a religious dissertation. I just know, for me, I see this every day, and today, this week, I see “no natural affection.”
In a different life I would have wanted to protest to affect some kind of social change. The truth is, though, even if a change occurs is it lasting? For many years people have given their lives for equality, as well as other causes…and look where we are. Again, this will not become a spiritual or religious dissertation.
So, here I am. Far from helpless, but broken hearted as I drown on my tears on the inside, playing house music to rid myself of the noise of the voices that continue to loudly cry out for justice, as well as the ones that cry just as loud with indifference. I already know that when the music stops I will find myself in a fog, my mind flooded by words being simultaneously spoken all over the world. Words that will sound like rushing storm winds that can only be held back by my prayers for peace and strength, not just for me, but for every single human being who has lost someone to random violence and senseless indifference and ignorance.