How do you pray when life looks like gibberish, when so many words are running together—pandemic, police brutality, protest, Confederate monuments, masks—and you can’t make sense of any of it? The present and past collide as history literally falls to the ground—though these rocks don’t cry out. If they could, they would sing the praises of dead men who fought to keep alive American slavery. False idols, they can’t say a thing so Americans speak for them.
But what of the dead men and women who can no longer speak for themselves? What do we say of death and its brooding presence among us? More than one hundred thousand Americans have died due to the Coronavirus, and it is hard not to feel like the sky is falling down around us. With each death, I feel like we are all going down.
Still, prices go up around us. Numbers and days are a blur. I don’t remember what I paid for this or what today is or that I bought bread yesterday. I fear running out of something I need and it is all running together.
Still, there will be no coming together anytime soon. The number of infections due to COVID-19 is on the rise again. We’ll all be inside again, sick and shut-in and sick of being shut-in again. All in one place, we still can’t get on one accord because division is being sown from the top down—politically, culturally, religiously—and we cannot get around this reality.
So, Americans continue to march in protest of the police brutality. Eight minutes and forty-six seconds, George Floyd is pinned down and dying and persons still don’t see it. There aren’t enough signs or enough times to chant. We can’t say it enough.
This is why we cry, “Enough is enough!” We are at our max. We have reached the limit of how much injustice we are going to take. We are not tired and there is no talk of taking a break.
“Hands up! Don’t shoot!” This is my prayer and my posture most days as I stand face to face with soldiers in the middle of the day and police armed in riot gear at night—in the United States of America. We shouldn’t have to fight for justice or ask for it in a country that claims to be “the land of the free and the home of the brave.” We really don’t have any more time for this, which is why we declare, “No justice, no peace!”
On top of this, I am running out of words. I don’t know what to say to God. Sighs are more appropriate now. Questions outnumber my declarative sentences as I ask when, why, how and what are we to believe in a time like this. I say Selah more often than Amen. I am not certain of much these days.
I really don’t how to pray or how to address God. Mask-wearing God? God of plagues? God of protest? God of the revolution? God of justice?
I don’t know what to say. The cries of George Floyd and Elijah McClain, the images of Ahmaud Arbery literally fighting for his life, the fact that Breonna Taylor was murdered in her home and there have still been no arrests gets in the way of anything I thought to say or ask for. My requests pale in comparison. I just want justice and if I or anyone else is not praying the same, then for me, it just sounds like “blah, blah, blah.”