“Did you hear?” my friend asked yesterday morning, “Yes, not another one.” I said helping my kids out of my car. Both shaking our heads, both weary.
I grew up in Memphis in the 1980s, racial tension forever scarred on my heart. Black and white kids in the same classrooms, yet worlds apart, still rummaging through the aches and pains of what happened in our city, our country. The wounds still fresh from our parents’ generation when a little black baby was escorted by armed men into her school a town or so over. We were still clawing sometimes hopelessly at reconciliation. Still are.
But yesterday morning, how could we have imagined what would unfold last night on our local news? My sister and I texting our youngest sister, “Are you home? Don’t go downtown? Tell us when you’re safe.” Streets we know. Streets we’ve been.
So this morning we weep.
We weep for fallen officers, one of them newly married.
We weep because they ran toward the gun shots to protect civilians, not knowing they were for them. Had they known, they would still have run toward them.
We weep because it feels like we have come no where since MLK and Rodney King.
We weep because an innocent civilian was also wounded.
We weep because sometimes the evil seems too big, too brazen, too loud, too uncontrollable.
We weep because this is our home, our America, these are our brothers and sisters, protectors, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives.
We weep because a four year old baby saw a man die in the front seat of her car 2 nights ago, and more children saw men and women fall last night. Four year old babies. Now, forever and ever changed.
We weep for all of the lives. All of the lives.
My sister’s husband is black, my husband’s dad is a police officer, my best friend’s husband is a police officer. I weep because this could have been any of them.
So, when I look over and see my own baby four year old cuddled up in an arm chair with her bi-racial cousin, an Ipad between them and see love, real true, love, I know there is hope. I know there is still innocence and peace, maybe hidden today only in the corners of our living rooms.
But doesn’t hope usually spring forth from those hidden corners?
When I can’t fix the world, I can focus on myself and how I guide my children. I woke up with this truth, a Bible verse, long ago memorized on a ratty old note card, ringing clear in my ears through the heartbreak.
Let love be without hypocrisy, abhor what is evil, cling to what is good.
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Precious friends, rest on truth, keep your eyes and hearts focused on truth. Abhor evil. It will always be here, but we can hate it and refuse to play its games. Let love be the fuel in your heart. Go the extra mile today. And tomorrow and the next day and until your last day. Let love.