Today, I’m not talking about chronic illness. Today, I’m talking about what has been on many people’s hearts and minds (myself included): the murders of nine people in a Charleston church.
When I woke up and read what had happened overnight, I was stunned. This man was with these people for an hour, praying, talking, worshiping with them. This man was only a year or two older than me. Then, because of their race, he killed them.
It’s so easy to ask God, “Why is this happening? Why would someone do this? Where were You when these people died?”
My small group and I have often discussed hard topics like this. What happens when good people who aren’t Christians die? Why is there so much suffering? What are we meant to do about it? A bunch of girls (women, really, though it’s weird to think that we’re adults) in our late teens and early twenties, struggling to understand the world around us. We don’t have all the answers. We never do. What we know is this:
We love a God who is merciful. We love a God who hurts when we hurt, who listens when we cry. We love a God who is just, who gives second chances (and third, and fourth, and so on). He wants us to love others boldly, passionately, the way He has loved us. God is with us, always. We aren’t meant to know everything. We are human, and so we will get angry with God. God can take it. We will scream, and yell, and cry, and God says, “I love you still.”
As someone who is not a person of color, I cannot understand the fear, the sorrow, the anger, in the same way, because my race has never been an issue with anyone in any way. I’ve never thought about my race the way I think about my disability (in the sense that my disability is a part of who I am, and is often in the forefront of my mind; for me, as a white person, race has never been something I have thought of often in regards to myself).
I read a blog post by Osheta Moore (https://oshetablogs.wordpress.com/2015/06/18/what-i-need-you-say-in-response-to-the-shooting-in-charleston/) on what to say in response to the shooting. I’d encourage others to read it, too, if you are struggling to find the words to respond to this tragedy, this hate crime, this terrorism. There are so many things I do not know to say.
So I am sorry. And I am listening.
I’m 19. I don’t have all the answers. I cannot imagine the depth of sorrow the people who have lost their loved ones in this way are feeling. I know that there are things that need to change. I want to be a part of that change. I know that we must support others. We must have compassion and empathy. We must listen. We must love.
Psalm 34: 18: The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.