I may have written this before. Somewhere I am pretty sure I have used this same title. For that, I will not apologize. It’s complicated. So here we go…
As a black woman of faith, I am taught to seek joy in time of trouble. I am taught to experience gladness in time of sorrow. Sunday comes and I am reminded that whatever was or is troubling me the day before, my countenance should be as a holy glow, not a droopy woe. I am to clap my hands in praise and shout with joy before my God and be humble and thankful. Do not get me wrong, please. I love extending my hand to my God in praise of all the many blessings. But after one more child being killed by police, it’s complicated.
It’s complicated for me to smile and not show the trauma that impacts my body. It’s complicated to sing a song of triumph when my voice instead wants to moan. It’s complicated to lift up encouraging words when you know darn well the words are falling on ears that just want to hear, “Can we be real before God for a minute, please?” It’s complicated in our preparation that we clothe ourselves in an armor that is tough and hard to break, when in reality we are breaking. It’s complicated that we plan for the future with the past still in the back of our minds and the present showing up with past pains. It’s complicated that still we rise in the mornings and must meet the day like there is nothing wrong, like all is just a terrible dream and we must just get through it.
Just get through it, as we hear of another son’s death. Just get through it, as we hear of another’s son’s death, just get through it as we hear of another daughters death. Just get through it, as we notice the anger and violence that we are facing and the anger and violence we do internally to ourselves as we just get through it. I can’t get through it.
So now, God. Can I be real with you? No, I present myself before God with sadness, not joy. With anger, not gladness, with lament, not a smile. Not clapping my hands to pretend that all is well. Not walking with my head held high so others will feel comfortable. Not making a joyful noise for others who refuse to see my tears or hear my cries. No! For me to do otherwise is just too complicated.
Hear my prayer God. It’s complicated!