Hmmm…now I intentionally removed myself from social media for a while to refresh and to focus on my books and other business ventures…yet, in the last few days I’ve allowed myself to  indulge for maybe 30 minutes a day or so to play catch up. I wish I could say that it were not more of the same…yet, with one scroll the other day, I saw what I wish I hadn’t:

The shooting of another unarmed black man!

I said I wouldn’t write about it. Yet, as I attempted to reflect on what it meant to be God’showed beloved. As assigned, I relected on my reading of Tattoos on the Heart, meditate on Jeremiah 31, and spiritually discipline myself to explore one of many specific prayer approaches as assigned, I found fingers vomiting my pain on the keys annyway..so I wrote…I shared…surprisingly, I didn’t cry this time…

As I perused section seven, I was tempted to attach myself to the Breath Prayer again. It was familiar and comfortable.  The labyrinth prayer seemed too complicated while the conversational prayer seemed far less intimate. I’d been a part of an intercessory prayer group a few years ago at my former church. We would meet once a week at 6 am and pray for our neighborhood, the members, the country, specific prayer requests, and the like.  It had been a while since I felt comfortable enough to join a group like that since my move. Yet, a few months ago, I was confronted with a situation that unfortunately mirrors the events of this week to my dismay. I joined hands in prayer during our bible study with those who didn’t look like me for the sake of intercession.

Another unarmed black man was gunned down by police and freedom of speech allowed the world to see it unfold. I wish I hadn’t been privy, but I and millions more were immediately embedded at the scene of the crime.  Crime, yes, it seems a suitable ploy to use deadly force, but since when is having a stalled car a crime? I remarked once before that God knew exactly when to allow me to live because had I lived during slavery, my outspoken butt would have surely been lynched.  I joked about the prospect of something like that happening now at the time, but the eyes in the sky depicted all too well that at least in some people’s minds nooses have all but taken on a different guise; one smaller, faster, and more potent. A bullet is a tiny thing, yet when fired in the wrong direction, it promises to do the heinous job…Hmm the job…Some say the officer was just doing her job, but I wonder when her job description morphed from serving and protecting to killing and neglecting. I wonder whether the bullets that escaped her resolver had merely been in safety mode in her heart for years prior to the moment she killed an unarmed father of four.  

Anger… No, I believe I’m beyond that phase now. I’m numb. I don’t know what’s worse: that I heard about it or that I saw it.  Perhaps it’s the fact that this father was slain quite possibly in front of his own four children…considering how quickly the news spread online I mean. I can only imagine the pain that gripped them.  So do we still have the right to remain silent? Do we have the right to remain aloof? Do we have rights at all in this country who replied “no” so long ago to the chains slavery promised? Oh of course not.  At least I can say that I wouldn’t because as an inevitable consequence, my blackness reminds me daily of the cries of my ancestors slain for just being. So I find myself wondering where I fit into this.  Why I fit into this? How can I get out of this? Where would I escape if I could? I have a son who likes to play basketball at the church near his high school.  There games usually last until after nightfall. I covered him yesterday morning because nightfall and blackness don’t mesh well nowadays. I even found myself smiling in relief that even at 18 he seemed more engulfed with video games than being outside. At least on video games the guns and blood spilled won’t require a eulogy when the game is over. Yet, Terrance was executed in broad daylight wasn’t he? So while I originally thought my prayer would be a breath prayer, I found myself breathless when I saw the footage. There were no words save, “My God!” I cringe at the thought that one day I could get that call or worse that I wouldn’t have to get the call because it would be plastered online and on the news.  My daughter said a while ago that if she had a loved one to die in some public and horrible way that she would not want to hear about it every time the same thing happens to another person.  She mentioned that those mourning the loss are inevitably trapped in a vicious cycle of perpetual grief because when Terrance was killed so was Alton.  And still when Sterling was murdered so was Philando and the list goes on. Oh wow, I almost forgot, the latest was Keith.  So my prayers this week have reluctantly transformed from breathless sighs to heart-piercing cries for intervention! I am sickened by the reality of which I live when I see direct evidence proving that Boyle’s pages are perhaps futile attempts to change that “lurking suspicion that some lives matter less than other lives.” Yet, I find safety in the knowledge that despite the carnage and disruption of culture and character in our nation, God’s word in Jeremiah 31 gave me hope that we would know Him intimately in the aftermath; that He would not punish us for the sins of our forefathers.

So with mercy that has been afforded me by my loving Heavenly Father I digress and choose to not do the same to those who do not share my skin’s hue. I recall the time when God first arrested my attention with the word that gave meaning to my last name. Beloved. When it was posed initially, it was a question. Will you be loved? In time I learned to receive and I agreed to be loved.  Now my prayer is how to show my nation to do the same.