Travis came home with a momento for Eliot, a sign from the silent protest that took place on campus just hours earlier.
He grabbed the tape, opened the folded white computer paper, and told Eli to spell it out.
“B-L-A-C-K L-I-V-E-S M-A-T-T-E-R.”
We’ve told Eliot at the dinner table that a boy died, that another man hurt him. And, trying to understand what death actually means, he sat there, quiet for a few seconds.
Here, we ask ourselves as parents how to share this world of hurt with our children, who are being molded and shaped to learn empathy and compassion.
At that same dinner table, Eliot said, “So they’re just lost, and they need to find the way home?”
Oh, Jesus speaks from the mouths of babes.
All of this, broken systems, broken people, the injustice of shattered lives and class divides– it’s history that’s happened, and it’s future happenings, too.
So while we’re in this rigamarole of a revolving door, seeing the same hurts again and again, we’re faced with a challenge:
What is the future for our children?
I’ve been a wreck of emotions this week, trying to remember the families of Michael and Eric, trying to remember the Samaritan’s pursuit of justice.
But it doesn’t stop there.
I’m not going out to protest on campus. I am right here at home with two boys, making tents and picking up legos and vacuuming food off the floor. I’m washing dishes and closing my eyes for two seconds while they play together peacefully– for two seconds.
But even here, I am responsible.
Parents, we have a sacred and hard call to speak truth to our children, and to guide them in what is right.
But we also must give them the tools for the hard work ahead– courage and love for justice, a voice that isn’t afraid of conflict, but that issues respect in the midst of it.
We must teach them to find their own voices and walk the humble paths, under the light of the sinless Jesus and even the human heroes, like Dr. King, Nelson Mandela, Abraham Lincoln, and Sojourner Truth.
“Black Lives Matter” hangs above Eliot’s bed, because he knows that someone was hurt, and that it’s not okay.
And tomorrow and six months from now and 10 years down the road, if I can’t remember what that sign means, what it was for, my boys won’t either.
And so the burden of parenthood gets heavier and more beautiful at the same time.
And we are asked to respond.
What will it look like at the dinner table tonight, with Advent candles glowing behind us and the very presence of Jesus bustling through the room?