“I’m at a lost for words, but I’m sure I’ll find some
Rummage through these thoughts, digging up salt
And I can smell the wounds, man I can tell its dark
Cuz I can see the apathy of people torn apart”
– Taelor Gray “Plight (The Machine)”
I have some thoughts that I’ve held pretty close to my chest for the past several months. I’ve been reluctant to share them, not because they’re of a personal nature, but because it may leave my testimony vulnerable. Then, this morning, I came across another article about more injustice being served on the streets of another American city. So, it’s time to share those feelings, and on what better day than Good Friday.
In this age of social media, I’m sure you all have had a chance to familiarize yourself with an incident that occurred a little over a week ago. If not, I am referring to the 27-year-old black postal worker in Brooklyn that was arrested by 4 plain-clothed police officers, while on his daily route, after an exchange of words regarding the extra-aggressive driving of one of the officers. (For more on this story, click here.) This particular incident left me troubled in a way that Trayvon and Mike and Eric and Sandra and the others have not. This particular incident shook me. It left me in a temporary state of powerlessness, fatigue, and, worst of all, hopelessness. Ironically, the target of this episode of bigotry was able to walk away from his encounter with the police in one piece, physically.
So, why did this story hit so hard?
I do not know Glen Gray personally, and I have no way to verify the truthfulness of the writer’s framing of his character. However, if this article accurately depicts his work ethic, internal motivation, and moral conviction, then I know a hundred Mr. Grays. And I count myself in that number. I found myself surrendering to my tears as I read the article to my wife. These were tears of outrage, then fear, then powerlessness, then fatigue, then, fatally, hopelessness. For one to be stripped of one’s dignity, especially while engaging in an activity that is done with pride, will cause one to lose hope. To watch a man being stripped of his dignity will cause anyone to lose hope.
Why is Good Friday the perfect outlet?
On Good Friday, we celebrate the crucifixion of Christ, the ultimate demonstration of God’s love for His people. Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection is our hope. As followers of Christ, we are the people of hope. So, in essence, I am a man of hope. That momentary loss of hope was simply a reminder of my feebleness as a man born into sin. But, this day is a reminder of a strength that is made perfect in my weakness, and a sacrifice that was made to wash me pure and clean.
One of the really dope things about God is that He gives me room for error, to come up short sometimes. That’s called grace. So, when I have a temporary lapse of consciousness of His omnipotence, He reels me back into reality. Then he reminds me, “You asked for this. You wanted to be a living martyr. If nobody else has hope, you must have hope.” I’m so glad my hope is not in man, for it would be gone forever.
Black lives matter. And so do white ones, brown ones, yellow ones, and blue ones, and red ones. This movement has been degraded as a selfish attempt to elevate one life over another. No. This movement simply seeks to put each life on equal footing with every other life. This movement seeks to highlight and then eradicate the unequal treatment, protection, and service of and by those who are commissioned with interpreting and enforcing the laws of this country. That’s called accountability. Accountability matters.
(Cues “Plight (The Machine)” by Taelor Gray)