I am not naive. I have lived my share of horror stories, but overall my life has been blessed. I do not know what if is like to not know where I will sleep at night or when I will eat again. I have been blessed to always feel loved, wanted, and important, even if only to one person. Yet, tonight, I feel my heart breaking, shattering really, for the millions who have no one telling them their life doesn’t have to be defined by their past. They have choices on how their future will turn out. Do you know that? Do you know how precious and important and loved you are? It may not always feel like it, but I promise you are. You are special because you are human and God designed you to make a difference. You. Yes. You.
One of my colleagues lost her husband recently to a senseless act of violence. Children lost their father. Parents lost their child. Aunts and uncles lost their nephew. Friends lost their best friend. The world lost a man potentially capable of changing the entire world, and yet only a handful will claim they were impacted. Our town should have been shaken, the entire Knoxville area should stand united to say ‘no more,’ but instead, we are thankful it didn’t happen to us and life goes on. Tomorrow, the same thing could happen again. How many lives have to be lost before we reach out to the lives around us and say, “your life matters. Drama doesn’t matter. Hate should be let go. Anger should find forgiveness. Things don’t matter. But you, you are important, you matter.
One of the ladies at the funeral hit the nail on the head tonight, she said “we’re doing it to ourselves. We are killing each other, for what? To get our nails done, have some shoes, or some weave. That has to stop. We have the future in these kids, and we’re killing them.” Truer words were never spoken.
I’m sure with that statement you’ve figured out my colleague and her husband were black. I only say this, because I am white and I know for some, there is a stigma about blacks and whites, but you know, not one time tonight while I was on the ‘East Side’ did I feel anything different than human. I went with a few girls to Krogers to pick up balloons for a release and I picked up trash in the parking lot, God used me by sending a man who asked us to pray for him in the store and I wrapped my arms around the man and prayed for him. I’m still praying for Curtis. I pray God frees him of his demons and blesses his life. I pray he finds the peace he so desperately wanted. I am so thankful, my heart doesn’t carry the ability to see color, race, economic background, sexual orientation, or religion. God has given me a devine peace and ability to trust his plan and reach out to those who are hurting. What doesn’t make sense though, is why don’t we all have that?
We have to get out of our bubble. Step out of your home and look around. See the pain in the eyes of others and show them love and compassion. You never know if one, random, small, seemingly meaningless act of kindness is going to give another person the strength to cry out to the Lord and face another day in this world. With so much hate and anger and violence in our society, why don’t we put our hearts in a bubble and protect them. We weren’t designed to hate. We were created to love on another. Eve was given to Adam to be his partner and to love him. They were the first, and that was their purpose.
My heart is heavy for my friend and her family. Even more so, my heart is heavy for our children. The world they live in has become so cruel, and it has to stop. We have the power to stop it, with all my heart I believe that. Will you join me? Will you love someone else today? Will you reach out to another human and tell them they’re important and their life matters? Will you face the bullies and tell them to stand down? Will you… stop living in a bubble?