The day after seeing Josh, while sitting at home alone in my apartment, I couldn’t understand why I wasn’t more excited to see him, and he, to see me. It’s not that we don’t love or care for each other; on the contrary, I deeply care about every one of my brothers, and would gladly give my life for their safety and happiness.
Yes, there is deep-seated racism in the United States that stems from a mass genocide slave holding culture that segregates the entire nation and causes black men and women to suffer under the chains of an unequal justice system; that forces people with dark skin to walk uphill their entire lives — can’t I fight against that inequality, and at the same time, say that the vast majority of law enforcement officers deeply care about the people and communities they serve and would step in front of a bullet for anyone?
All these years later, her words and assurance stay with me: God is still bigger; than hate, which drove a man to walk into an Orlando nightclub and murder 49 people in the dark; than fear, which drives America forward on a vengeance path; than anger, which fuels the ongoing chaos in the world.
Two men stand in the crowd, one, in front, is trying not to cry while holding a lit candle up in the air. His eyes are closed, his grip is firm yet gentle. Another man stands behind him, with his head on the first man’s left shoulder, eyes squeezed shut and a look of agony on his face.
In the same way, this inmate had a choice about how to respond to his present circumstances. And he chose to write me an unpleasant letter. From his perspective, I understand that I must seem like a villian. However, I did nothing other than report the facts (of course, that doesn’t make me feel any better).
In the midst of all this jubilation, I’m reminded of a verse my father has told me many, many times: “Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Dad would pull the pallet onto the work floor with a hand jack and slap down another in its place. The scent of that building has lingered with me after all these years: a mixture of stale ink and dust. It was so dry I’d have to run to the bubbler every half-hour or so for a disposable cup of water.