Over the course of the week, I believe that I, like many of you reading this, experienced every emotion possible in this game called life. From utter amazement of the attempted kidnapping in a store, to anger and outrage of the sentencing (or lack thereof) of the rapist aka the promising swimmer to sadness and despair regarding the massive shooting of innocent lives in an Orlando nightclub. I struggled with words to capture how I felt. I fell on my knees, deviating between rocking, tears, prayers, and just trying to catch my breath. Then my mind ventured to a conversation I’d had with the graduate a few hours earlier. She’d gone out with friends on last evening, and somehow lost her car key. She was understandably frustrated, and retracing her steps was not adding value to her state of mind. I shared in response of how grateful we should be that we’ve only lost a key, while other mothers like myself are coping with the loss of life, be it physical or emotional. Suddenly, the subsequent steps that are required to get her driving again seemed insignificant. My utter pain morphed into a spirit of gratitude and worship, because it truly could have been another way.
It’s been said that it takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when the idiots appear to be taking over the countryside? What happens when it feels as though our children are being failed due to our collective lack of knowledge, and judgment and selfishness and fear? The result is hatred presenting itself in our places of worship, our spaces for community, our sanctuaries of affirmation and our cathedrals of connectivity. It would be easy for believers to say, violent outbursts such as this were foretold, and are simply a signs of the times (2 Timothy3:1-4), but the Word of God also provides a blueprint in response to the evil we are witnessing through 2 Chronicles 7:14. We cannot sit idly by, failing to use our voice and our action while we are yet here – just as the ancestors did for us.
My words may be limited – but my faith is not! Romans 8:26 reminds us that, “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” We may not know what to pray and for some, maybe even how – but God knows. May we find peace in allowing our thoughts and feelings and expressions to be communicated in such a way that words no longer matter; especially words like race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion – words that seemingly divide rather than unite. And if there should be one word that is retained, let it be love. Love is an action word. Let us come together to reason and create strategies to address our issues. Love has never fallen short, and it never will.