On December 14, 2012, it was my nephew's birthday. I was done with the Fall semester and L and I were out running some Christmas errands. I was happy almost giddy, buying gifts, the semester's pressure behind me. Between stops I heard a blip on the radio about Newtown. We went into Barnes and Noble and as L played at a toy on display I stood behind her and looked up what happened on my phone. Standing there in public I began to cry, I started to feel unsafe. I drove us home and waited for L to go to bed and then watched the news. I won 't expose her to it, not yet, I want to teach her all the beautiful things of the world first, so when she sees the overwhelming pain of the world she can know that there is hope and beauty to be found in the same world. I cried for days and then I slowly resumed my normal life.
Before that I watched super storm Sandy rip up my home town from 700 miles away and after I watch the horror of the Boston marathon bombing. I watch and I cry and I write and I pray. Then Saturday I heard the verdict, well read it on Facebook. I hadn't followed the Trayvon Martin case closely. I remembered the outrage I felt when Trayvon was killed. I remember watching it all unfold and I remember the lump in my throat that comes every time injustice rears its miserable, life sucking, ugly ass head. It was the same lump that came late Saturday night and again Sunday morning.
This week I have the great privilege of being at the Samuel Proctor Institute at the Children's Defence Fund's Haley Farm. Let me tell you there is no better place to be the days after such a heart breaking verdict. This week I am sharing life not only with amazing classmates and a favorite seminary professor, I am learning from Ottis Moss Jr, Jim Lawson, Marian Wright Edelman. These are the people that Martin Luther King Jr was changing the world with. MLK has always been inspiring and essentially I somehow have found myself hanging out with his friends the day after the law, the courts failed a black boy who was shot dead. Let us take comfort in the humanness of the law and knowing that the human word will never be the last word.
I am not here by accident, God brought me here. I don't say that lightly, God brought me here. God brought me here so I could be reminded I have a loud and passionate voice, that needs to do more than just cry itself to sleep after each tragedy, each injustice, each natural disaster. God created me with a deep love of children. God created me with a heart for equality, especially in education and opportunities for education. God allowed me to have empathy for the poor, the suffering. God has called me to ministry, likely with children. God gave me a thirst for justice. God let all my little worlds collide right here in TN.
As I sat listening today, I had enough, I had enough of just crying, weeping, wailing, for our children. I can not longer respond only with tears and prayers. It's time to take action. It's time to raise this voice that God gave me. So what am I going to do? I have no idea, I just know that the God who created me, the God who brought me here, is moving in me and I am taking notice. I am noticing the radical gospel is the only gospel that speaks to me.
Today I am grateful for these tender days, for finding my voice, for the law not being the end all be all.