Young. Black. And Safety.

This morning as I rode the NJ Transit in a (black, male) conductor whom I had seen before stopped in front of me to process my ticket. At least that is all I thought he intended. I saw his lips moving so I removed an earbud to better hear what he was saying to me. Without any arrogance I will sum it up as “the usual” – complimentary, interest-evident rhetoric. I politely smiled, devoid of any come-hither-business and the mini conversation soon concluded. But, this is not about that. What was most notable for me in the entire encounter was the leave-taking. Devoid of the action of reciprocity, we both engaged in the simultaneous salutation, “Be safe”.

Because this is the clime we live in. A time when the proof of our mortality stares us in the face every minute of every twenty-four. A time when, if you believe as I do, that pre-destination is a very real thing.

As I listened to the reports of the train crash yesterday and the (thus far) one fatality – a woman, a mother who had just dropped her one year old at daycare – a woman who was not on the train, was not even struck by the train, but by debris while standing on the platform waiting on (that) train, I cannot help but to sadly recognize that, “it was her ‘time’”. I truly believe that. I believe I have said it here before, but if not here is what I believe: God decides when. How we live decides how.

But even as that is my belief, I join our nation and our world in grief and outrage at what has been transpiring around us, seemingly every day. I do not cease praying for the good health and protection for those I love. I too cry for strangers. Because even as I believe in pre-destination, I also believe that God has given us free-will. He has, sometimes I believe erroneously, entrusted us with the ability to encounter, think, rationalize, determine, decide and act. He has given us dominion over how we live our lives. Sadly for many of us, life – theirs or ours – is not considered sacred.

So in a brief interaction with a black man this morning, I would have been remiss if I didn’t offer my wish to the Universe for his safety. Clearly he thought the same for me. The body count that keeps on stacking up demands no less. No telephone number, offer of a date or any other gesture of flirtation or interest could have meant more, or carried more sincerity than, “Be safe”.

The truth is, from the moment we are born, we begin to die. Our shock and anger stem in part from the “how” and the seemingly unending proof of this reality. Death is something most of us would prefer to ignore and hope to God it goes away. Our world today is flaunting its derision at this notion. Daily we are being forced to confront and accept the circle and cycle of life.

This morning as I watched the news about the riots in California after the shooting of yet another black man by police, I couldn’t help but to recognize that what we once considered the three most important words in any language, “I love you” have been usurped by (at least for blacks everywhere), ‘Unarmed black man…” But as quickly as this thought entered my consciousness, took hold and evoked strong emotion, was it followed by this thought: ‘That is what we get. This is what we get for not understanding and appreciating those three words, “I love you”. This is what happens when we treat others carelessly. When we negate the power of those words.’

Let’s address this. We need to get back to the place where we respect each other. Where we celebrate and applaud differences. Where we understand that my success does not threaten yours; there’s enough for both. When we are not afraid or ashamed to demonstrate care, admiration, desire, happiness… love. When we allow our children’s example to teach us the way; and not corrupt them with ours. When we choose honor in all our actions.

“I love you” – there are no conditions, there is no, “but” or “so”. I love you. With that I offer you your freedom – to love me back or not, to be happy, to buy your drum and march to the beat you create. I am dedicated to reinstating those three words as the most important words in any language. I do not like the others.

I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Wrongfully prosecuted. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Domestic abuse survivor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Lesbian. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Muslim. I love you. I love you. I love you. Murder victim. I love you. I love you. I love you. Poor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Black Man. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Domestic abuse victim. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Afflicted. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Unemployed. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Cancer survivor. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Black Woman. I love you. I love you. I love you. Mentally challenged. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Jewish. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Homosexual. I love you. I love you. Single mother. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Heartbroken. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Nappy-headed little girl. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Over-weight child. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Unappreciated father.I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. White woman. I love you. I love you. I love you. Struggling with addiction. Confused.  I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Hopeless. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Profiled. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Bullied. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. White man. I love you. I love you. I love you. Homeless. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Transgender. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. Maligned. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you. I love you.

 

 

One response to Young. Black. And Safety.

  1. cheryl

    The words that come out of your mouth brings my heart joy, pain, wonder and, above all else, love.

    Hubby drives an uber and everyday when one of us gets ready to walk out the door, I say “be safe”. in this day and age I say it to a lot of people. thankfully, I still say ” I love you” just as much! Someyimes I say both because of todays world event one of them needs to be said and the other needs to be heard. I realize that they’re not mutually exclusive anymore. how sad! maybe love will inevitably win out. I can pray for that.

    Be safe and I love you you, my friend.

    Like

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