My friend and my neighbor you have put away from me, and darkness is my only companion – Psalm 88:19
Today, I woke up and said my prayers. It was a daily office type of morning. I left it to my wife to get the kids ready for school. I granted myself that privilege.
Last night, in the moments before I went to bed, another video made its way onto my timeline. A hashtag followed in quick succession, and our long national nightmare began a cycle that we know quite well. But last evening, I couldn’t afford to research or to detective my way through yet another tragedy. Tuesday would be a full day. I had lectures to prepare and a dissertation to finish. So while a family mourned, and black people in the United States were again left to wonder about their place in this country, I went to sleep. Then I woke up and prayed the morning office as I do on most days. I wish I could say that I prayed for my country. I didn’t. I read the prescribed prayers and biblical texts as called for in the Book of Common Prayer. I sat in silence hoping to hear from God. Nothing came, and so I began my day.
I am not sure that people realize how difficult it can be for African Americans to go to work on days like this. We are forced to smile and to do our jobs when so much history weighs down upon us. But we press on because life demands it of us.
So I began my work. I revised a lecture on Joshua and Judges. I posted a few Anglican articles to Facebook. I tried to focus. Then the sadness, the inevitable sadness hit. So I stopped working for a while and began to write my way towards hope.