I confess – I feel very mournful. Mine is a general sense of mourning, one that is at once overwhelmingly present with me while at the same time it is elusive, just out of conscious reach. There are so many things to feel sad about, it is hard for me to focus on just one, to grieve it and to give it its due.
And while I have been busy grieving, a coup has taken place in the past two weeks right before my very eyes. COVID-19 has been defeated – well more like dethroned actually. I had missed the coronation of COVID-19 as king, missed the part where we all agreed and consented to making COVID king, to making COVID ruler of all. Nevertheless, COVID has been ruler of all for the past three months – ruler of all decisions made on the personal, local, state, national and global levels.
Imagine the power? We don’t have to, we beheld it firsthand from our homes on a daily basis – as every decision made was passed through a COVID tented lens before any action was taken. The result? Shutdown of everything not deemed “essential” by king COVID’s enforcers.
Businesses were closed, streets were empty. My friend died but I could not attend her funeral, there was no funeral to attend. Funerals were not permitted under king COVID’s rule. Then a rival reared his ugly head, Injustice, his name. Excessive use of force by someone in power over someone powerless. This is always wrong and now added to this wrong was the fact that the victim and the perpetrator of the wrong were of different skin colors – racial injustice.
This wrong is what has set us all free from the tyrannical reign of king COVID. Suddenly our once empty streets are now full of people in cities all across our country. They have remained packed with people, day after day, night after night for the past two weeks. I watch in wonder remembering when a few people protested in a few cities (including my own city) only weeks before, because they wanted to be allowed to open up their businesses. They were told they would be arrested if they opened their salons, gyms, restaurants, etc. and the few that attempted such a thing were arrested.
Those protesters were called murderers by the media but now these protesters and rioters that fill our streets are deferred to and cheered on as heroes by the same media. Their numbers are large, there is no social distancing and they are not being put in jail. Certainly this bodes well for all kinds of social gatherings that have been illegal until now. I’m guessing weddings, funerals, restaurants, churches etc. should feel free to take place and to open up based on this new turn of events.
After all, isn’t that what the protesters are protesting, injustice? Aren’t they asking for equal treatment for all of us? I want that too. I think everyone does. So given the extremely large numbers of the protesters, I think restaurants could probably operate at full capacity without the world coming to an end. In fact, even in a full restaurant there would be less people gathered together than are gathered on our streets to protest. If people can pack the streets for days on end, I think they could probably attend a NASCAR race for a couple of hours. Doesn’t seem like much of a stretch to me.
Yesterday, I mourned alone at home as I watched the televised funeral of George Floyd. There was another funeral taking place yesterday as well, that of retired St. Louis police captain David Dorn. Dorn was shot and killed during the riots/protests which followed Floyd’s death as he was defending a store against the rioters’ destruction. His death and funeral barely got a mention in the news even though he is black like Floyd. Coverage of Floyd’s memorials and mourning has been round the clock on every station. Someone has decided who is worthy of our mourning and who is not.
I have seen for the last few days, any time I turn on my TV, a video clip of Buffalo police knocking down an older gentlemen as they march past him. About a week ago I saw a video news clip of policemen in Flint Mi. and in Indianapolis, In. laying aside their weapons and joining in with the peaceful protesters. (not the rioters) This deescalated the situation and changed the whole atmosphere for the better. I could see it with my own eyes.
I assumed I would see these particular reports again as news stories tend to repeat themselves at each newscast throughout the day. I never saw them again but continue to see the Buffalo incident replayed even now several days later. Who decides what news gets presented and what news gets ignored or hidden? I find myself just wanting to know the truth.
I find myself grieving the burned down businesses and the destruction of the dreams of the people that owned them and worked in them that they represent. I mourn people I know that have passed during COVID. Though they did not die of COVID, their loss is no less of a loss, although the messaging has been only COVID deaths count at this time. (and here I thought all lives matter)
But that is not the word in the street. That word is “black lives matter,” not “all lives matter”, such as the lives of the unborn, the lives of the elderly, the lives of the handicapped – truth is, to God, all lives matter.
I am grieving the loss of life, the loss of a job, the loss of daily freedoms I took for granted, freedoms I gave up for a “good cause” and now cannot get them returned to me, none of us can. I am grieving the evil and the violence and the oppression and the lies that threaten to take control of our previously free society. When any voice of dissent is silenced, freedom cannot live for long.
I feel like Habakkuk when he said in 1:2-5, “How long, O Lord, must I call for help, but You do not listen? Or cry out to You, ‘Violence!’ but You do not save? Why do You make me look at injustice? Why do You tolerate wrong? Destruction and violence are before me; there is strife, and conflict abounds. Therefore the law is paralyzed, and justice never prevails. The wicked hem in the righteous, so that justice is perverted. The Lord’s Answer ‘Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told.’ ”
Conflict abounds, that’s what I see before me everywhere I look. This constant conflict fills me with grief. Which brings me back to this ever-present state of mourning I find myself in, precisely because there continues to be so much to mourn. Psalm 34:18 assures me I am not alone when I mourn, saying,
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
I take comfort in His closeness while I wait and watch for Him to act because I know my Heavenly Father is a God of justice. Isaiah 61:8 says,
“For I , the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and iniquity. In My faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them.”
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; He rises to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!” (Isaiah 30:18)
I am saddened right now by the lack of peace and the lack of justice that seem to surround all of us, but I rest in the promise of these words from Isaiah 9:6-7,
“For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
sincerely, Grace Day