Friday, July 15, 2016

Tears for Others

All I want to do is cry.

That was my first thought after attending a Panel Discussion on Police and the Black Community last night. Panelists included the Mayor, two Police Chiefs, and leaders from Black Lives Matter Cincinnati, Cincinnati Children's Law Center, and New Prospect Baptist Church. Being in that room, I felt like an outsider looking in. I am not black. I do not have any ties to the police. But I see the injustice, and I want to do something about it. I feel helpless. Last night I experienced not only my own helplessness, but the helplessness of the black community, and the helplessness of the government and law enforcement.

We are all helpless.
We are all hurt.
We are all angry.

With every passing comment, question from the community, and statement from the panelists, I was more aware of the intensity and depth of the hurt on all sides. Even though I could never feel this specific hurt, the intensity of the hurt in the room was palpable. I felt like I was on a boat in a storm, taking on more water each time a new wave of hurt hit my ears. I could drown in all this water. I could drown in all these tears.

All I want to do is cry.

While the panel discussion was challenging, I am ultimately glad I went. Seeing the hurt in the eyes and the voices of the attendees keeps me emotionally connected to the unjust racial situation in our country. I cannot personally feel the emotions of discrimination, but I can empathize and remember times when I have been hurt in other ways. I could do nothing amid the storm and constant waves of hurt last night - except bring it to prayer. High emotions may be uncomfortable, but they keep me connected to others and running to God. In running to God and staying connected to those who hurt, I hope to find a role to play in righting this injustice in our country.

All I want to do is cry.

I do not cry for myself.
I cry for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Sam DuBose, and all other black men murdered at the hands of the police.
I cry for Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, and all black children who are growing up in our violent world.
I cry for the police and their families who have been thrust into sadness by a mistake.
I cry for Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Lorne Ahrens and all police officers killed in the line of duty.
I cry for the unjust system that is our government and criminal justice system.
I cry for the unending violence in our world.

At the end of the night, after hearing of another act of violence I thought:
I don't think I can handle any more hurt. But God can.
All I want to do is cry. All I can do right now is pray.
God, never let me feel disconnected from my brothers and sisters who hurt.