The density of bad news is such that we can say a place name, and, just like that, the name conjures up for us the entire tableau of suffering that unfolded there.
Maybe we say a person’s name instead.
In the last two weeks, there have been so many.
Dylan Noble, Fresno, June 25.
Essence Bowman, Sulphur City, July 2.
Pedro Villanueva, Fullerton, July 3.
Alton Sterling, Baton Rouge, July 5.
Philando Castile, Falcon Heights, July 6.
We should not need to share a culture, skin color, religion, or system of government with another human being to mourn their loss. All people suffer at the hands of endless war, as do our planet and our sense of common humanity, and all people deserve peace.” —Aniqa Raihan
After the massacre at Pulse in Florida, I said I didn’t want to feel like I had to trudge through grief alone. And I haven’t.
People directly affected have stepped up. People not directly affected have stepped up. Friends who’ve doubted whether to call or what to say have reached out anyway. Therapists and counselors and chaplains have offered free sessions for individuals and grief-processing circles for groups. Activists have set up healing events so that people who can’t usually access support can.
Humans are being humane. We need more of that.
I appreciated Erica Joy’s meditation on grieving while at work.
And Believe Out Loud’s affirmation of faith strong enough to bear despair.
Even Adventist administrators in this part of the world are wrestling with all the violence and the racism that has birthed it.
We must move beyond the talking stage and begin to actually develop practical ways of dealing with racial intolerance in all of its forms — whether subtle or overt… Now is the time for our local congregations, for our state and regional conferences, for our educational and medical institutions to pray together, to engage in creative thinking together, and then to work together to strengthen what we have in common and bring the hope and healing compassion of Jesus to our communities.” —Daniel R. Jackson and G. Alexander Bryant
We need one another’s company right now, not just to support each other through the emotional turmoil, but also to co-build material, institutional alternatives to surveillance, strife, and slaughter.
It’s beyond “not passing by on the other side of the road,” and beyond simply attending to others’ mid-crisis pain. Claiming each other as neighbors and siblings means going deeper and being determined, despite criticism and fear, to stay there.