Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Every Crooked Place, Straight?

Psalm 6:3
My soul also is greatly troubled;
But You, O LORD—how long?

BEWARE: This is a sensitive topic, with race-related undertones.

Today, I read a very disturbing article on Yahoo news. It's not the first time that I've read a story like this, and I am MOST certain that it won't be the last. Still, that doesn't make the story any less gripping, crippling, heart-wrenching or mind-numbing.

The story revolved around a young lady who is/was a very accomplished and heavily recruited basketball player from NYC, who was gunned-down in an apparent incident of mistaken identity. This story is heart-breaking on sooooo many levels. However, for me the story is most heart-breaking, because this 18 year old young lady was black, and I am raising a black daughter myself.

I am an over-protective parent. My daughter has never given me a reason to hold on to her so tightly, it's just who I am. It's my nature. My daughter has been educated mostly at parochial schools, and she's been raised almost exclusively in the suburbs. My daughter has never come face-to-face with violence (other than a school yard fight), nor has she ever been the victim of a crime (except maybe some teasing that went too far or bullying). Still, I've always been very over-protective. I've been like a hawk...a tigress even, making sure that harm has never been close enough to touch or mar my daughter's world. And as protective as I am and have been with her, I've always felt that she's had a little bit easier, because she is a girl...and not a boy. I don't have to worry about some of the things that parents of sons (black sons in particular) have to worry about. I've always been relieved to have a daughter.

Well, my innocence was brutally snatched away by a well-meaning u/s tech during a 20 week scan of my pregnant stomach, back in July of 2010. She happily announced that I was expecting a baby boy. My heart sank. Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of having three beautiful daughters. I felt confident that I was pregnant with daughter number 2, and that my long-awaited dream was finally coming true. However, all of my hope was dashed with three little words. "It's a boy."

My husband was excited, while I was numb. I walked around for the next several weeks just...stunned. I rubbed my belly and imagined the black baby boy growing inside of me, and all I felt was fear. Fear of what the future held for a black boy in the millennium, in America. I watched the news and heard horror stories of black boys gunned down in the street, left dead or "for" dead, like trash. And these crimes were mainly committed by other black boys. Boys who's mom had heard the words "it's a boy" either at an ultrasound, or in a delivery room, and began to contemplate a future for her son. Who had dreams of her son doing great things. Who had dreams of seeing her son marry, or become a father, or heck, even graduate from grade school. Moms who would now, sit in a courtroom and watch her son be judged for a terrible offense. Or moms who would a few years later be on the news with tears streaming down their faces, as they tried to wrap their minds around the fact that the baby boy they loved, prayed for, and had hopes and dreams for was no more. Now he was a memory. They would never see him walk into a room, in his oh-so-familiar way. They would never hear his unique voice call out to them , "Ay Ma." They would never feel the touch of his lips on their cheek. Or the grooves of his hand on their shoulder.

I was scared. I was scared for my son, who was at the time safe and protected by my womb. I was scared for myself. Scared of being one of those moms, crying on the news, trying to make sense of something so...senseless. Wanting and needing to hate and/or blame somebody.

I was resentful. Resentful as I walked through the mall and saw moms of other races pushing their strollers. Their little boys riding along happily. Resentful that they would never know my fear. Never understand it. Never be able to relate to the thoughts that would occasionally grip me. I was resentful that when the u/s tech had told them that it was a boy, they were able to celebrate without thoughts of their sons lying dead in the streets with bullets holes riddling their bodies ever ONCE entering their minds. It was sooooo unfair!!!

But God had to remind me that the battle isn't about flesh and blood, race or color, suburbs or inner-city. Those things are simply distractions to keep us as the human race from coming together and addressing the problems. The battle is spiritual. We've gotta find a way to win hearts, and change mindsets for all of our children's futures. We are intrinsically connected. And these killings aren't happening in my neighborhood, on my block, or in my backyard...but if they're happening somewhere in America, then they're happening to me. If they're happening to black children, white children, Latin children in America, then it's happening to my children. And it's affecting me.

God bless the family of Tayshana Murphy. May the Lord show Himself to be the Prince of peace in their lives, that they may have a peace that surpasses all understanding during this time unbelievable heart-break.

Good people lose their children to random violence, too. Every child that is killed in the ghetto is NOT necessarily the product of a broken home, a poor single mom, a crack mom, a negligent mom, etc. Good people live in bad neighborhoods, because it's all they can afford, and they do the best that they can to raise their children, the best way they can. ~ Evil visits all of our houses, and most of us don't invite him in with open arms. ~ Bad things happen to good people. Compassion and sympathy are free to give.

1 comment:

  1. Tayshana's story made me cry. Those basketball stars have to go through so much, both academically and athletically to get where they are. It is such a shame and waste of life when any young person gets killed, don't get me wrong, but when a young woman who has worked SO hard to rise above her circumstances gets killed just minding her own business...there aren't any words.