What do I do when I’m feeling discouraged? Well, I eat. And I cry. I pray every step of the way… and I write. Today I skipped the crying step and went straight for the eating and writing. Try hummus and thin crispy crackers, it’ll change your life if you haven’t slept and are up at the crack of dawn. Moving on. I don’t tend to keep a journal. I have way too many thoughts and get distracted far too easily to keep up a routine of daily or almost daily journaling. However, I never go a day without writing something. It’s how I express myself, my feelings, my thoughts. Be it a paper for school, my book, poems or lyrics, I am writing something. This blog is almost like a public journal. But I kind of live my life that way. I grew up shrinking myself. Everyone handles trauma and pain differently. My way was to be quiet. I never had ownership of my stories or experiences so I wrote about them. Maybe people could keep me from talking by scaring me, by interrupting me, by dismissing me. People would always refer to me as the quiet one. My mind, however, has never been a silent place. Whatever the reason was for my quietness, writing was and is an escape. I can scream as loud as I want to on a page. I can say what I want through ink. No one can silence me when I’m in my notebook. I tend to compensate for my earlier years by being somewhat of an open book. What I mean is, if someone were to care to read me, they could. Nothing would really prevent them from doing so. But if I was a book in a library, I may be tucked away where most don’t think to look. That doesn’t make me hard to read but it may make me hard to find… I also can’t promise that reading me is comprehending me, but we’ll read that chapter when we get to it. Anyway, if you think I overshare, you may be righy. Either way, I’m gonna do what I’m gonna do.
Yesterday was Sunday. But it all feels like one long day, probably because I haven’t been to sleep. Anyway, on Good Friday, we remember the death of Jesus, but we know that Sunday is coming and Jesus will be risen on the third day. Oh, what Good News. Even when Resurrection Sunday is over, every Sunday should be a reminder of that. Of the goodness, the grace, the love, the mercy, the sacrifice, the selflessness, the passion of Jesus Christ. We should feel loved and blessed beyond words. We should also feel convicted. After all, by this will the world know you are My disciples, by the way you love one another. Well, yesterday, I didn’t feel like that. I did not feel fully known and deeply loved after the sermon. Listen, I have plenty of personal problems that I could enumerate, but what we all have in common is that there’s a pandemic affecting us all and the news isn’t good news. Further still, I’m Black. And everything is so overwhelming, from Daunte Wright to Adam Toledo and Anthony Thompson and everything else. Honestly? It’s like I can’t catch a break. I struggle with anxiety that is exacerbated by continuous racial trauma. And again, honestly, I’m tired (as are many people). I can’t put into words how weary my soul is. This isn’t to say that there isn’t joy amidst the hurt. Even so, I would have liked to enjoyed the goodness of Sunday, I would have liked to been reminded of God’s liberating love that sets captives free, that conquers all, that cares so deeply for me and people like me even when the world around is saying otherwise. I would like to be reminded that God is a God of Justice, that God does indeed side with the oppressed instead of standing in the middle. I would like to be reminded that people of color are made in the image of a brown-skinned, middle eastern, refugee Jew, born to an equally brown and teenage mother. I didn’t want “both sides”. I didn’t want to hear that Pharaoh too was made in God’s image. I didn’t want to hear that Pontius Pilate and Roman soldiers were made in God’s image. I wanted to hear that a criminal who society had accosted would be with Jesus in paradise. I wanted to hear that God plagued Miriam with leprosy for the way she treated the Black wife of her brother Moses. I wanted to hear how God’s wrath and His mercy cannot be divorced or seen as separate from one another because God is patient and merciful wishing that none would perish, but God also defends the poor, the needy, the marginalized. God, on the one side of the Red Sea with the newly freed Egyptians, proved that He does take sides. I didn’t want to hear about “Hispanic on Hispanic crime”. I didn’t want to hear that as a Christian I should have compassion and empathy for the abuser, for those who harm simply because they are also Imago Dei. I want to hear that Jesus steps in for me when I’m the woman at the well, when I’m the man on the side of the road that everybody walks by, when I’m the orphan, the widow, the childless, the poor, the “other”.
I don’t want to keep talking or keep correcting people. When is it time to speak out and fight against whyte supremacy with holy fire? Unrelenting, not pausing to remember grace for those who systemically harm those like me who are made in God’s image, but remembering those who society forced to the margins. I don’t want to explain how it makes me feel when people of color are routinely getting lynched but I’m told to remember that those doing the killing still reflect the God that I so need to save me. I need to be rescued from the people I’m taught to consider. When will honoring the Imago Dei of people of color be a top priority of the Church? When will our needs and safety take precedence over “both sides”? When will those who claim to believe that our lives matter not only take radical stances as individuals but also take their own people by the hand and show them the way? This is my, “How long, O Lord?”