Another week, another shooting: another moment to lament, grieve, and rage in the face of unexplainable, unnecessary, incalculable loss. There is a fine line we must travel, in the face of how fast word travels. Those for whom the news hits closest to home walk a tightrope between all-consuming anger and listless despair.
That may be the reason why Roger Robinson’s “A Portable Paradise” is on my mind today:
And if I speak of Paradise,
then I’m speaking of my grandmother
who told me to carry it always
on my person, concealed, so
no one else would know but me.
That way they can’t steal it, she’d say.
And if life puts you under pressure,
trace its ridges in your pocket,
smell its piney scent on your handkerchief,
hum its anthem under your breath…
I have written about the work still ahead of us before: the kind of study, prayer, and action required of us if we are to live in a world where young men like Daunte Wright don’t fear for their lives during a traffic stop. But today, I’m thinking mainly of what it takes for us to hold on. I’m thinking of those ancestors who planted seeds of hope in barren land; those who watered and tilled the ground for future generations, unsure of the fruits of their labor. I’m thinking of that place deep within of us that holds something which “neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come” can take—try as hard as they might.
James Baldwin once said, “not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced.” Friends, let us tell the truth about ourselves. Let us care for those we have lost as if they were our very own brothers and sisters, our daughters and sons. And let us refuse to turn a blind eye to a problem that is less about race than it is about the moral character of the nation we call home: a problem that concerns each and everyone of us.
St. Paul’s Racial Equity Education Resources—a list of curated resources to assist you in learning more about race, racism, and how to become an anti-racist.Tags: From the Clergy, Hope for the Journey