Every day, I fear that I am going to receive a call that someone I love has passed due to the actions of someone else. Be it a stranger, a neighbor, colleague, or police offer; I can see myself going mute and collapsing as the phone hits the ground.
I fear my brothers will have their lives cut short just for being black. I fear my partner will be gunned down because his skin color and beard make him a “terrorist”. I fear that a complete stranger will feel like “today is the day” and turn my world upside down.
But…the world is upside down, this is not normal. The sad truth is this has been the reality for too many people, and it continues to be day after day. I feel so close to people I do not know. People whose hearts have been permanently stilled. People whose tears seem as endless as cascading waterfalls.
Every day, humans are becoming more and more desensitized to the endless violence throughout the world. Bombings in Syria, genocide in Myanmar, kidnappings in South Africa; senseless gun violence, sexual assaults, and hate crimes in schools, churches, and street corners across the U.S., the list can go on and on. The truth is, you do not have to look far for violence and destruction, as it is in many of our backyards.
It both saddens and infuriates me that people have the luxury and privilege to ignore all the chaos and entropy in the world because it does not affect them directly. Equally infuriating is the lack of compassion that is displayed daily from any number of uninformed, privileged spectators. People who tend to be feared are not the threats, while the real threats have been voted into office, wear uniforms, or have positive news headlines and excellent character witnesses.
“If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.” 1 Corinthians 12:26. I have never been very religious, but I have always had an affinity towards this verse and tend to believe it on a global scale. If I let my guard down and truly let myself feel enough, I have the propensity to cry daily because my heart hurts from all the injustice and inhumanity, or the silent daily struggle of others.
Sadly, this is not a science-fiction parallel universe. This is the woeful, cold reality we live in. Sidewalks, corner stores, police stations, backyards, playgrounds, schoolyards, grocery stores, and homes, they all bear strange fruit. This is what we have grown accustomed to in the Upside Down.