I am sitting here searching for the words to express what I am thinking….feeling. It’s 7:00 in the evening and my family just finished a dinner of turkey burgers with lettuce and tomato and homemade honey mustard sauce, and steamed collard greens and onions. All of my children are here. There are moments of laughter. Jordan is in the kitchen preparing his second burger; Isaiah is sitting in a recliner watching old cartoon remakes, Leah is with her brother and Kayla is looking at a news story on Yahoo!. Our family is together and everything is fine…but that isn’t the case for the family of the young man and the old man who were shot to death a couple of hours ago just about 1/8 of a mile away from where I live…where I love.
When I first heard that there was a shooting and that a young man had been shot, my heart sank in my chest, and my first words were, “That’s somebody’s baby”. Little did I know that it was the 18-year-old son of two people who I grew up with. As I walked out of my house to talk to neighbors, I witnessed the ambulance racing past my house with the young man’s mother racing behind it in her vehicle, and I recognized her face. But more than her face I recognized her terror. It was a look that only a mother would recognize. It was a look that said that , at that moment, she was reliving his life wrapped up in hers. She was remembering the first time she felt him kick, and every ‘first’ thereafter. And I don’t mean remembering, as in thinking back fondly. I mean remembering as in tangibly experiencing within her heart every memory that has been securely tucked away and protected by her heart just in case a day like today ever happened. In the flash of her face I saw her lips moving and I knew….I knew that she was praying to the God who blessed her with her 1st baby boy…her only son. And I joined my prayers to hers. I prayed for him and for her, and my heart broke again. While I do not have all of the details, I have a vital one…that young man will never see his family again. That family will never see their son, brother, cousin again… because someone decided they had the right to take his life. A life that they did not create. A life that they didn’t have the right to take. A child killed by another child…deliberately…premeditatedly. And a community begins to mourn.
Then we began to hear that there were, in fact, two people shot. The information I received on the identity of the other victim was not accurate. I do not yet know who the other victim was, other than that he too did not make it. A community will remember. But our lives will go on largely unaffected by these losses. I had difficulty facilitating a meeting shortly after the news, but I did it. I was distracted cooking for my family…my sons…and my daughters, but I did it. I sit here quietly typing, shaken, but I do it. I’m realizing that while my life is impacted by the aftershocks, these families lives are forever changed by the earthquake.
A young man was killed today…by another young man….both young men were black. An old man was killed today, by the same young man…both were black. My heart is broken for the families….I can’t help but think, in the wake of the Trayvon Martin tragedy , if Al Sharpton or Jessie Jackson or the Black Panther Party will be arriving in my neighborhood anytime soon….or will a protest march or rally be planned….regardless of color, Murder is murder …wrong is wrong… 😦
I pray for and with this family that they will find refuge in the Lord. I pray that they would run to Him when the grief is too much to bear. I pray that they would look to him when they can’t fin answers to all of the “Why’s” that will plague them in the months and years to come. I pray that they would have a community that would surround and support them. I pray that they would find stability in the Solid Rock… refuge in the arms of the Lord. For them my heart aches…the look on her face…I have no words….
Pray for the family of William Brewer Jr., and the family of the man who, as of yet, hasn’t been identified.