When is it coming to get me?
When is breast cancer coming for me?
When is someone coming to shoot up my son’s elementary school?
When is a tornado ripping my house from root to roof?
When is a bomb blowing up the next race I’m training for?
It has hit home for me, yes. But I’m keenly aware that people all over the world are bombarded with these when-am-I-next questions every. single. day.
I hate the image above. And I hate the ‘To Boston from Kabul with Love’ image too. I hate them because of how ashamed they make me feel at my complete indifference to their vulnerability. I hate the images because we haven’t sent them back. I hate that we’ve never sent a “From America with Love to Kabul!”
As an African-American I’ve lived with a greater sense of vulnerability for me & my black brothers. And then I’ve watched some die. Their vulnerability was not a ploy to misuse government funds. As disconnected as they were from the surrounding white suburbs they were still every bit as vulnerable even when mistrusted & ignored. There are gay kids living with this when-am-I-next type of vulnerability. There are little girls everywhere living with when-am-I-next to be raped? These realities exist whether we turn a blind eye or not.
As much as I hate the evil and mourn with the victims of the latest atrocities I believe this is a golden opportunity for us Average Joe Americans (and other 1st world citizens) to stand in solidarity not only with places like Syria but also with those who feel perpetually vulnerable in our own country day after day after day.
Growing up a poor kid in the inner city, I’ve felt that vulnerability. I’ve seen what living as a perpetually vulnerable person or family does. It’s destructive. It’s ugly. It’s hopeless. I’ve also wrestled those gutted transactions between those who don’t believe in the vulnerability of others who show impatience and disgust. Distrust of your words and motives and actual needs.
How can we extend greater grace & mercy to people who feel perpetually vulnerable?
Can we harness our current pain to invest in our world’s most vulnerable?
Can we use these horrible events as a catalyst to get off our lazy behinds and help the vulnerable within our immediate vicinity?
Can we pray for Boston and follow it with a prayer for Syria?
Can we stick “God Bless the World” stickers on our bumpers instead of “God Bless America?”
Can we pray for Waco, Texas and follow it with a prayer for all the unemployed & homeless in Detroit, Michigan?
Can we pray for God’s peace and grace to rest heavily on Afghanistan? On Chechnya?
Can we extend more patience to those on food stamps?
Can we give more grace to people you typically don’t trust for one reason or another?
These tragedies are giving us sheltered Americans & 1st world countries a mutual experience by which to understand more deeply fellow human beings all over the world.
May we steward it well.
And to my brothers & sisters in Syria & Kabul I have a message for you:
Join me & my children this morning in praying for Shalom on earth.