The passing of US House Representative John Robert Lewis has saddened me more than I can express, even in writing. I am sad for his family, friends, and fellow US Congressmen and women, and for the loss they will feel now that his voice is forever gone from their hallowed halls. I am rejoicing, however, because he is now with the ancestors! I believe that his soul will join the millions of others who worked and believed in the spirit of righteousness, justice, and freedom for all people. His absence in body leaves many of us wondering what will come next. But, I believe he would want the same for all of us who find ourselves left behind when our loved ones go home to God. He would want us to find our way forward.
Moving through grief is hard. It is a feeling that never really goes away. There are days when the grief is so overwhelming, you feel like you can't move or breathe. But, eventually, we do move and breathe. I have learned when it feels like I need to stop, I should do just that - stop. Take time to heal and recharge. The healing sometimes involves me letting the grief wash over me and I cry. Sometimes I smile at some old, warm memories, like the image here of Rep. Lewis attending the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con in cosplay of a younger version of himself when he crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge back on that bloody Sunday in 1965 in Selma, AL. Sometimes I scream, because I was left here to deal with this life while my loved ones get eternal rest. But then, I recognize that they have done their time. They have earned the rest that comes from a lifetime of service to others and the struggles that come with wielding the truth in a world that has a love affair with lies. Where they have put down their sword of truth, armor, and shield of faith, we must now suit up. Let us pray that they gain the rest that comes with their heavenly reward and ask that they pray for us to have God's speed and purpose for the fight ahead.
We must now find the way forward, asking ourselves what we can do, and let not the path intimidate us into inaction. Any act, no matter how small, is ours and should be made. We just need to move and have our being in this reality. If you can cook, make food for those who need the strength for the battles before us. If you can call or write, contact your local and state representatives on issues that matter to you. If you can march, do so safely - we are in a pandemic, after all. Are you a destroyer? Then, destroy the things and systems that foster hate and manufacture fear. Are you a builder? Then, create networking opportunities and safe spaces for all people to engage and thrive or build a bridge for the youth, like Rep. Lewis was at Comic-Con. Are you weak? Then, rest and recharge. Are you strong? Help someone up, and then help another one up, and another, and another. Are you creative? Then, sing, dance, draw, paint and bring color and life to those who don't see the truth that every human life has light and that we matter. It's okay if you aren't just like John Lewis, but you are here, and you can do something. Find out what it is and do it. Do your best at that thing you do. You have your marching orders. Make the ancestors proud!
Suggestions for the way forward...
Please seriously consider absentee voting this year. Visit www.vote.org for registration details and candidate information.
Visit www.feedingamerica.org to find out how to donate or to find a food bank.
Visit www.redcross.org for information on how to donate or to organize a virtual blood drive.
Visit AFSP.org/COVID-19 -- where mental health and COVID-19 intersect.
Support locally (Beaufort, SC area) - Visit www.originalgullahfestival.org, www.penncenter.com, and www.gullahgeecheecorridor.org for information on supporting community efforts, education, and the arts.
Stay safe, be blessed and a blessing,