I’m writing tonight’s un-edited “pure thoughts” post from the floor of my bedroom. I composed it while laying/praying on the floor staring at the ceiling, which is where I’d still be if it was possible for me to write that way. But it isn’t. Tonight I am thankful for reprieve. For not feeling. And just like last week I posted about the importance of feelings I think it’s sometimes important to direct your feelings and focus on something different for a while. To give your soul a reprieve from all of the big feelings. (Some people might call these emotions, I prefer the more sophisticated term “big feelings”).
So tonight I was laying on the floor thanking God for the peace and solitude I found in the form of empty TV and a lot of Taylor Swift music videos. All week as I’ve said my prayers they’ve revolved around unrest and war. There is war in Iraq and Syria, there is war in Ferguson, there is war in my heart and war in my head. And those are just the wars that I can see and feel.
But of all of these wars, one has weighed far more heavily on my mind than the res. I’m not from Ferguson, I’m not black. I’ve never been the victim of racial profiling or institutionalized prejudice. I’ve mostly experienced white privilege and incredible blessings. But what’s going on in Ferguson has overwhelmed me this week. Not in an unhealthy obsessive, checking the news (read: my twitter feed) every 5 minutes to get an update kind of way. But in an aching heart, heavy burden, general melancholy kind of way. This is a thing that God has laid on my heart and just won’t let fade away. All week I’ve been praying for cops and praying for protesters. Praying for Michael Brown’s family and the family of the officer who shot him. Praying for the leaders of Ferguson and those who are crying out for their stories to be heard. Praying for knowledge and also a willingness to surrender the need for knowledge. Praying for clergy and praying for journalists. Praying that this broken-ness my lead to some kind of whole-ness. Praying for justice and praying for mercy.
And then tonight I laid down to pray and said “Thank you Lord for a day free from Ferguson”. At first I felt shame and sadness at my willingness to forget even for a moment the suffering that is happening there. And then I got the best of my shame and decided that I’m okay with that prayer. I’m okay with the fact that tonight the cry of my heart said “Thank you Jesus for letting my heart rest today, thank you for the reprieve”. I’m okay with this because I can forget, for just a moment, the suffering that is happening there, because this is more than a moment in time. God’s not asleep. He’s doing something and it’s bigger than all of us. I know that Thursday night Annie sees the world through different eyes than Monday morning Annie saw the world. I know that tomorrow morning I will wake up with renewed vigor and passion and desire for God’s work to be done in Ferguson. I know that tomorrow my heart will cry out for justice and mercy. I know that again tomorrow my heart will long for there to be constructive dialogue and the idealist in me will once more wonder what it is that I can do from my comfortable little living room in Virginia. And I know that when I begin to wonder, I will know the answer: I will pray*. And my prayers will be stronger, and more deliberate and impassioned because tonight I got a break. And just because tonight I got to laugh and “waste” my time on “frivolous” things (I love you T-Swizzle) doesn’t mean I forgot about anyone’s hurt or pain, it just means I took a break. And taking breaks is ok (and in fact probably necessary in order to maintain sanity). So tonight Lord, I thank you for the reprieve, because my heart needed it.
*Disclaimer: On the off-chance that any social-justice driven people are reading my blog tonight I want to acknowledge the importance of taking action and standing up for what you believe in. I know that many people have felt drawn to stand literally in solidarity with the people of Ferguson and I admire them for doing that. I also know that my role, in this situation, is to pray. I know that my heart aches in a way that it never has before and that the part I am to play is that of a devoted pray-er. And so pray I will. If your role is to march, or to raise funds or awareness, or to pass out sandwiches or protection, or to be a peacemaker then go and do it. I’ll be here praying for you.