This morning I stumbled out of bed and left the covers wadded up as my 10 year old crawled into bed with me early this morning and was still sound asleep. Walking into the kitchen, I opened the black refrigerator doors and reached inside for an ice cold Coke Zero. That is my “pick me up” instead of traditional coffee that everyone else must have in the morning. With Coke in hand, I flipped open my lap top and logged into Facebook. I sat with my little two pound teacup Yorkie by my side as I scrolled through Facebook in the stillness and quiet of the morning.
Purposely, I did NOT turn on the television, yet I still could not escape the reality of what happened Wednesday night in Charleston, South Carolina. There it was, all over the news feeds again on Facebook.
I sighed as I began to scroll through when something caught my eye. A friend, who can some times be controversial, posted about how he was tired of hearing about the Charleston shooting “crap” (his words) due to what it has become now with the mention of gun control laws. My friend stated that the gun was given to the shooter as a gift, and I could tell by the tone in his status update that he was just fed up that one thing lead to another, and now we’re back here talking about racism and gun control laws. Right underneath, a string of comments started with a few people trying to put him in his place.
Why is this happening?
I tried to see things from all sides as I read through the comments. I could see his point, and I could see their point, too. For a moment, I considered scrolling on past it, not taking this on at all, and yet, I felt compelled the next minute to respond, to defend him in a way.
The next thing I knew, I had written the following:
I think I understand what you’re saying. The media is sensationalizing what happened and focusing on a hate crime, bringing up the race issue all over again, and now it’s leading to the gun control issue once more. Thus, your term “crap” used in the above status. There were nine precious lives lost Wednesday night when all they did was gather together for prayer meeting. We don’t know why this happened, what the shooter was thinking, but what we CAN do right this minute is pray for our nation – not go at each other over a difference of opinion or even a word used where others wish it had not been used or perhaps even misunderstood. We need prayer now more than EVER before. We need God to heal this land, the people, and we need to all come together regardless of what race we are – God made us all; red, yellow, black,and white, we are ALL precious in His sight. I have just as many, if not more, black friends as I do white friends, and my heart is broken that this happened at all. That this is our reality. I love you like a brother, Billy. That’ll never change no matter what words you use or how you state your opinion.
Almost immediately, my comment was met with a young black man wishing to argue that the media was not doing this but instead the hating people are. He said they were only doing their job, and that I needed to stop living in denial because it is what it is and there IS racism. He stated that the shooter wanted to start a race war. I carefully considered what he wrote to me where he intentionally tagged my name in his comment, and I wrote the following in my response:
I’m not in denial, hon. If he wanted to start a race war, the worst thing we can do is feed into that. I love ALL regardless of color. It is a very sad situation, and my heart hurts for those nine precious people, their families,and friends. I have a friend that is going to Charleston to minister Saturday night at a prayer vigil. She’s white but married to a black man and they have bi-racial children, and you know what? I love them ALL.
The gentleman wrote back that he loves all races, too, but that his point was that while it may not be me, racism does exist. He further stated that we can’t get mad at the media or people for talking about it.
My final response was this:
I understand what you’re saying. It is just sad all the way around. That this happened. That there is racism. That we live in fear. We need God. Plain and simple. And the best thing we can all do is turn our energy toward praying for our nation.
This once seemingly argumentative man then wrote back, “You are so correct.”
Now that situation that could have been explosive at one point was diffused by my carefully considering my words and sharing my heart with this individual. Yes, he is black, and I am very much a white woman living in the South. It could have gone down differently, but thankfully it did not. Instead, in the end, we agreed … and that is what I want us to focus on today. It isn’t about who is right or wrong or who stated what opinion or even HOW they stated it. What is important is that we finally agreed to focus our energies on PRAYING FOR OUR NATION!! That is the absolute best thing we CAN do right this minute.
Something horrible has happened in Charleston, South Carolina. There are injustices every single day that are being done across this nation. Maybe it isn’t as simple as people want to make it out to be; about racism. Maybe the bigger thing to consider is Christians being executed for their faith! Does that give you a different feel toward the situation when I word it that way? Does it get you to thinking? Regardless of the race, those people were gunned down IN THEIR CHURCH! They gathered there that night to worship God, to hold their weekly prayer meeting. I’m sure they felt the safest at their church, and yet, their lives ended right where they gathered to worship.
It could have been you …. it could have been me … it could have been my children! That is what scares me the most. The world that we are living in today SCARES me. We are not safe in our homes, businesses, cars, or even our churches now. The sad reality is that we live in FEAR. We may not think about it every minute of every day, because if we did, we would never leave our houses. We would stay curled up in a fetal position in a corner some where in our house and never face the world again. We can’t live that way, though. The best thing we CAN do is pray. Pray for one another. Pray for our Nation. Pray for GOD to heal our land. We need Him now more than ever.
Please … today … tomorrow … next week, continue to pray for Charleston. Go beyond that sweet Southern city with so much charm and pray for our NATION as a whole.
God bless you every one.