Blogger’s Note: This is a long post. I hope to do some shorter ones, rooted in specific Catholic teachings and principles. But I think I need to say a few things first. (Photo courtesy of a local Catholic friend, Jim Lang.)
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For days, I have wanted to write and couldn’t—not because I didn’t have anything to say, but because I had too much to say, and most of it felt too easy. I re-read an essay I wrote from four years ago, when the dead man’s name was Philando Castile, then reposted it—but that seemed too easy, as well. Something was different this time. Something more needed to be said. Something else needed to be done.
I wanted to have said something so I could stop thinking. I even sat and began to type a time or two. But the only clear thought that came, again and again, was, “What can I do?”
I also worried about saying the wrong thing. It doesn’t take long online to discover that too many people are looking for fight. I’ve seen folks advocating violence, dismantling the reputation and character of businesses and strangers, and dismissing people entirely for using the wrong word in the wrong way.
And I am prone to vainglory (worrying overmuch about what people think of me) and have a hard time letting things go, especially when misunderstood.
So I’d much rather sit this one out.
With Philando Castile, I simply described the tension in my heart and mind. This time I leaned into that tension, not looking to respond, explain or excuse, but to see, hear and learn about myself.
Something is different this time. Something more needs to be said. Something needs to be done.
What can I do?
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I can tell people where I stand. George Floyd’s killing is an outrage, and I am angry. This should not have happened and should never happen again.
Perhaps, like me, your first instinct now is to say, “Yes, but…”
Hold that thought.
Just sit in silence with the image of a six-foot-six man, created in God’s image, dying in the street, held down by police officers who would not help him and watched by bystanders who could not. Let that break your heart. Continue reading