Juliette’s been waking up at 5 am this week.  Oy vey.  I can usually get her back down after 10-15 minutes and grab at least another hour of sleep before it’s time to get ready for work, but this morning, when I crawled back into bed at 5:15, I tossed and turned.  I burrowed further under the covers, scooted closer to the warmth of Shane’s body, turned my head away from the clock that was ticking its way toward my alarm, but sleep wouldn’t come.  My heart was heavy as my head spun with visions of mourning parents, cars on fire, faces twisted with anger and grief.  I haven’t said much, on social media or otherwise, about the situation in Ferguson.  I’ve “liked” a few Facebook posts that call for justice, I’ve ranted to Shane over the insensitivity of a few others, but mostly I’ve been silent.  I’m troubled and angry and full of sorrow, but…I’m also white.  Am I justified in standing alongside Michael Brown’s parents, alongside the hurting black community, without truly being able to empathize?  Can I begin to understand what they’re feeling, even though I can rest in the hope that there are governmental systems in place that will protect rather than harm my child?  Do the words from my privileged lips hold any weight?  Or is it time for me to get over my insecurities, agree with my friend Erica that often silence equals complicity, and speak up?

I keep coming back to the image below:

michael brown

Such profound grief.  Having to bury your child must be one of the greatest sorrows conceivable.  And in the midst of all that grief, being caught in the the eye of a storm where your son is called the ugliest of names, where he’s accused and vilified in efforts to justify his death.  I can’t imagine.  But I can pray.

Lord, please lay your peace on the Brown family.  Hold them close.

And this picture:


So much division.  Unrest.  Distrust.  It’s hard for me to fathom, as I sit here in the quiet of our house on our quiet street.  I can’t say I’ve ever felt threatened or afraid because of the color of my skin.  I can’t tell you what it feels like to be treated as less than because of my race.  But I can pray.

Lord, bring reconciliation in the midst of all this pain.

And this picture:

michael brown2

Michael Brown isn’t just a symbol.  He was a young man whose life mattered, not because he was young or black or someone’s son, but because he was a human being, and I believe in a God who says that all life matters.  I can’t undo the shots that were fired on August 9th.  But I can be an advocate.  I can cry out against inequality.  I can get down on my knees and beg my God and my country’s leaders to bring about change and accountability in our broken system.

Lord, hear my prayers.