Reid said, “I normally don’t have a loss for words.” I replied awkwardly, looking for something to say. “Today’s a good day for no words.” Reid was at the Peace Rally the night before. He drove out of the parking garage, where one of the snipers was setup, 25 minutes before the assault on the police and protesters began.
It’s the day after five police officers were killed in Dallas. My wife, Jen, and I were at the noon prayer vigil at Thanks-giving Square in downtown Dallas. This is where we met Reid. The grounds were built 50 years ago. It was intended as a place for the city to come together, to remember, to be thankful after the city and country were torn by the assassination of President Kennedy. Here we were. Together in the hot Texas sun. Staring down the barrel of a problem we dreamt we had overcome. Half a century past. The problem still present.
One thousand people came together to find hope and healing; to give thanks for life we still had after seven people’s lives were taken in race-related violence over recent days. We held hands at times. We prayed. Some hugged. City leaders called and prayed for an end of anger and hate as instruments of resolution. They exhorted for the end of denial. They encouraged acknowledgement: “We have a problem.”
We as a society want to be done with this issue. We want to leave it in the past. But wanting doesn’t make something so. Anyone who’s trapped in an unwanted situation knows and feels this. Unacknowledged problems rot the homes in which they live. Shame, pain, anger, resentment, and rage grow in the face of denial.
The problem is not going away. Arguing about it deepens division. Casting judgment hardens animosities. Placing blame creates burden. Avoiding it out of fear gives it the room to quietly creep closer to our front doors.
Race as a problem is beyond us. Fighting problems fight back. This problem exceeds our labels, our categories, our unions and our divisions. It exceeds our knowledge. It exceeds our abilities.
What you resist persists. What you fear appears. Yet, what is revealed is healed. It’s time allow our problems to rest in the light, revealed.
These are matters of life and death. We can try to fight off death and darkness. Or we can seek to grow effortlessly in the light, like trees bearing fruit, increasing life. It’s time to focus on increasing life. Life matters.
Today is a good day for gratitude for what we have and what others have given.
Today is a good day for quiet acceptance.
Today is a good for being together.
Today is a good day for believing, trusting and acting like there is a God. A God who is bigger than us. A God who is stronger than us.
Just like this problem is.
What if we come together, quietly, and listen and look for wisdom and strength? Can we be weak enough as individuals but strong enough as a faithful people to find the power to overcome? I don’t know. But I believe. And I hope. And I love (except for when I don’t).
Today’s a good day for no words.