“Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction.” MLK, Strength to Love
I was getting ready to post my WIP Wednesday post, and I just can’t. Not without addressing two major events this week. In fact, both occurred on the same day.
For my readers in the the States, it won’t come as any news that a Grand Jury in Missouri decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson (a white man) in the shooting death of Mike Brown, an unarmed, 18 year-old black youth. The city of Ferguson, MO descended into chaos when the news broke. Schools were closed on Tuesday. I’m not sure if they will be open today. Protests have sprung up across the country. My Facebook news feed exploded with links and rants from both sides of the issue, in staunch support or vehemently opposing the decision.
And me? I don’t know what to think. I don’t know what to say. I don’t think anything I could say would do little more than add to the clamour.
I do not understand what led Officer Wilson to make the choices he made. I cannot say if they were wrong or right. I wasn’t there, and I certainly wasn’t him.
I do not know which version of events leading up to shots being fired is the “real” version.
I do not know the pent-up rage and frustration boiling over onto the streets and businesses of Ferguson. I know it is far deeper than I realize and involves far, far more than one court decision. I know it envolves years – decades perhaps – of racial tension that I, as a middle-aged, middle-class, white female cannot begin to understand.
What I do know is that the the whole situation is tragic! All of it.
Mike Brown’s death is tragic. Not because he was an “unarmed black youth” or a “good kid,” but because he was human. His life had value. Losing it is tragic.
A mother had to bury a son, and that is always tragic. No mother should have to do that, not here in the States nor in an African village. Mothers – parents – should never outlive their children.
The city of Ferguson has been broken and burned. It’s tragic, and, frankly, will not help. It will only begat more violence, as Dr. King so elloquently said in the quote above. Also, the ones who will be affected the most, are sadly the ones who are breaking and burning their own city.
It’s all tragic. My heart aches. And sitting here in the wee hours in my rocking chair, Ferguson seems a million miles away, and it seems there is nothing I can do from here. But that isn’t true. I can pray, and so I shall. For the violence to end. For an end to the racial tensions, in Ferguson, in America, and in my own heart. For a way to peace. For some way through all of this to reconciliation. For true, ultimate reconciliation for us all. For hope.
Because there is always hope, and nowhere is that more evident than in the second event (really the first) that occurred this fateful day.
A baby was born.
The very baby for whom I was knitting that pinwheel blanket made his (yes, his) entrance into our crazy, tragic, beautiful, mixed-up world. My heart rejoices with his parents. This little wordless one has been celebrated and hoped for. He brings hope right along with him into this world. Hope of new a life and all the potential he holds. Hope for the future…hope for a better way.
In a way, it reminds me of another baby, long ago, Who made His entrance into our crazy, tragic, beautiful, mixed-up world…right in the center of a region torn by racial divides. He offered Hope. He still offers Hope, because He is Hope. Hope for a new life. Hope for a better way. The only Hope for true, ultimate reconciliation for us all.
We’ll celebrate His coming soon. Advent starts this Sunday.
Amen, come, Jesus.
In my heart and in my home.