Today I mourn.
Yesterday I mourned.
I mourned for the history that has brought us to these days. I mourned for slavery, for lynching, for Rodney King to Philando Castile and everyone in between.
I mourn for the officers killed in Dallas last night.
I mourn for the African-American man who's heart beats faster today when he passes a police car in the street.
I mourn for the loved ones who send their officers to work today, unsure if tragedy and pain will meet them today.
I mourn that though we've come so far, there is a chasm threatening to grow that causes us to choose sides, to use the words "they" & "them" instead of "us."
As my husband and I discussed Philando last night, unaware that tragedy was co-occurring in Dallas, he adamantly asked, "What is the solution?"
"I don't know, I don't know, I don't know."
As I read the news of Dallas this morning and coupled it with the sorrow I was already feeling for Philandro, I wanted a way to express my sorrow, my anger, my frustration. I wanted the biblical sackcloth and ashes to rip and display that I indeed am mourning. So today I wear a black cloth on my arm, cut from clothing as a sign to simply show that I mourn.
As Johnny Cash expressed in his song, "Man in Black,"
I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
Livin’ in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
I wear it for the prisoner who has long paid for his crime,
But is there because he’s a victim of the times.
I wear the black for those who never read,
Or listened to the words that Jesus said,
About the road to happiness through love and charity,
Why, you’d think He’s talking straight to you and me.
The black is there as a reminder to me that things are not right, that I need to pray. It also serves as an opportunity to talk to others and say, "I am listening, I care, I hurt and I too want to see change."
After I wrote the first part, I also tore white and added it to my arm band. I added white to show that I mourn with hope and belief. I know that we are capable of change, I know that we are capable to love better. I know that the people who mourn today, need to be ministered to, need to be loved, need to make a choice with where their hearts will land - if they will choose to forgive or not. The cycle needs to be broken.
Isaiah 61:1-3 is needed today:
The Lord God has put his Spirit in me,
because the Lord has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor.
He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken,
to tell the captives they are free,
and to tell the prisoners they are released.
2 He has sent me to announce the time when the Lord will show his kindness
and the time when our God will punish evil people.
He has sent me to comfort all those who are sad
3 and to help the sorrowing people of Jerusalem.
I will give them a crown to replace their ashes,
and the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow,
and clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness.