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America – Home of the Dead

Updated: Mar 4, 2023

I went to my grandmothers house yesterday. I went to drop something off to her with a dear friend. I wasn’t naïve enough to think I would be able to just drop it and leave though. There’s always a conversation to be had.

The conversation went a few different directions.

We conversed about really personal experiences. Divorce and Death.

You see my grandmother has had to bury two children. Robert Ray Waller Jr who didn’t survive past 4 months and Thaddeus Ray Waller who passed away only 4 years ago. She talked about how she begged and pleaded with God to not take Thaddeus. She talked about how she would much rather God had taken her and not a son with so much more life to live.

I sat there staring into her eyes. The history. The experiences. The wisdom. The pain. All in the eyes of the matriarch.

My grandmother is so much to me. She’s persistence. She’s wisdom. She’s delight. She’s joy. She’s comfort. She’s inspiration. She’s life lessons. She’s a kiss from God.

But the other thing that struck me is that she recalled these experiences without a tear shed. Not because these experiences weren’t utterly painful. Part of it is that time has allowed for some healing to take place. But it truly made me think about how strong her shoulders are from the heavy weights they’ve carried over the years. My grandmother and so many women like her of her generation have not only carried the weight of their own personal plights but the weight of the world as a black woman in America.

As I thought about her burying a son four years ago I thought about the mother of George Floyd and his family. Is his mother still alive? If so, what are her days like right now? Is she enraged? Is she simply broken? If she isn’t alive, how would she feel if she was? How would her own experiences as a black woman shape how she handles his death? Would she add it to the list of grievances she’s no doubt already experienced in her life? Would this be the straw that breaks the camels back and cause her to say enough is enough?

As I reflect on the ways I personally feel affected by the news of George Floyd specifically my tears are caused by the thoughts of those who loved him that are left behind. Their reality is forever different without him. They’ll never wake up to him again. They’ll never hear his voice another day on this Earth. They’ll never see his smile. He’ll never have another chance to make them laugh or even angry. With no time to even prepare themselves for such a harsh reality – just like that – he’s gone.

We’re all searching for the answers. We all want to know what “the solution” is. I for one thinks it starts at home. In our own communities. One individual, one soul, one heart at a time. The question that I am asking myself is what can I do personally. Not what I can ask others to do. Not what can I expect of anyone else, but simply what can I do?

I don’t feel angry. I feel really grieved. And just like Christ’s example the best thing I know to do right now is to commit myself to the Creator.

“He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave. But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush him and cause him grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have many descendants. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s good plan will prosper in his hands. When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of his experience, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. I will give him the honors of a victorious soldier, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among the rebels. He bore the sins of many and interceded for rebels.”

‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭53:7-12‬ ‭NLT‬‬

So what about you? Which example of Christ do you feel compelled to live out right now?

Is it the Christ that is silent before his accusers?

Is it the Christ that asks God to provide a way out nevertheless not his will but God’s will be done?

Is it the Christ that flips tables?

Let each of us decide in our hearts but do so with conviction and with the heart of God as our motivation.

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