Disgust. Shock. Outrage. Our country is in mourning. Our nation is truly lost. We are in a whirlwind of emotional upheaval, a rollercoaster of spiritual destruction. The lead up to the execution of Troy Davis has awakened this country to the thriving injustices and deep systemic issues of racism that are alive and well in the U.S. today. Tuesday and Wednesday have been particularly emotional, as more and more Americans began to realize the validity and personal impact of the statement “I am Troy Davis.” Whether people cared about the death penalty or not prior to the last few days, weeks, months, or years, starting Thursday morning, this country woke up to a new world, one of pain, confusion, and a greater need for healing than in recent years.
As I was sitting in my Pastoral Care and Counseling course at Chicago Theological Seminary, Tuesday night, I was tormented by the mixed feelings of pain, anger, confusion, and helplessness that were racing through my head and heart. I brought it up to the class, asking, “how do we as future pastoral caregivers grapple with this layering of emotions not just as they affect an individual or family, but also a community, nation, or the entire world? How can we be effective faith leaders in times of pain and grief when we’re confronted with cases as complex as that of Troy Davis?” We grappled with these questions for nearly an hour, with times of silence and utter-speechlessness scattered throughout the difficult reflection. Read the rest of this entry
“This article was originally published on the DePaul Interfaith website on May 9th, 2011″
Late at night on Sunday, May 1, a text message notified me to turn on the news, if I wasn’t already watching it. So, I did. In bold type, which I assume many will never forget, the headline read, “Bin Laden is Dead.”
I froze, took a double take, and then it hit me: an era was over. This era was the narrative of terrorism as symbolized through the face of Osama bin Laden throughout the past couple decades. My immediate feeling was disbelief, and then it rushed over me; the memory of my seventh grade social studies class with Ms. Goodwin watching the news with my fellows students; the memory of sitting on my neighbor’s stoop that night over a lit candle, asking the hard questions and thinking about the even more difficult answers to the days events; memories of war and death followed, hitting me in the face with blood and screams of agony; all of these memories washed over me like an ice cold shower of suppressed pain. Read the rest of this entry