I think I have a great poker face, although most people would say that it is more of a RBF (Resting Bitch Face), so it hasn’t been hard for me not to respond to unwanted advice and what I think are condescending gestures filed with false concern.
Last Thursday, December 31st, I posted my final blog post for the year on my website and also posted it on my Facebook page. I shared how a friend’s death had transformed me. I ended my post on a happy note, excited about entering the New Year. After posting, I closed my laptop and waited for my friend to come pick me up. It was her daughter’s 10th birthday and she was taking her and her friends to enjoy the beach. She invited me along which made me super happy, because I would be able to test out my new camera. It was a great afternoon. It was my friend, one of her students, her daughter and four friends, and I. We did a photo shoot with the girls, recorded videos of them playing, ate pizza and chips and watched them frolic in the water. As it got dark we left the beach and journeyed to my friend’s house where we sang Happy Birthday to her daughter and watched as she blew out candles and cut her cake. My friend then piled everyone into her truck again as we took the kids home. It was a wonderful afternoon and evening for me. I thanked my friend for inviting me as I truly enjoyed watching the carefree fun and beautiful faces of some very entertaining little black girls. I got home around 9pm, I was the last to be dropped home, took a shower and hit my bed. I didn’t leave my house for the rest of the night. I was content knowing that I was ending 2015 on a high note.
It would be less than 24 hours later, as I lay lazily in my bed, that I would get a very devastating call. My friend’s teenage student had been set on fire and was being rushed to the hospital. I didn’t understand what was going on. It was one of those times where I truly thought I heard wrong. What you mean she was set on fire? By who? For what reason? How could this happen? It was the first day of 2016 when everyone should have been celebrating the dawn of the New Year with all its hopes and good intentions. Instead everything I was looking forward to had somehow become null and void. Three days have passed since the horrific incident, and while family, close friends and concerned persons work on getting the teen the best medical support to help her recover from this ordeal, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the word prayer. But I’ve come to resent prayer. Who are we praying to and what will they do?
I come from a home where my mother’s first defense against everything is prayer. In the middle of last year, when I confided in her about the many issues I was experiencing at my last job, she made sure to call me every morning to pray with me so that I could get through the day. When great things happened to me, I would drop to my knees in appreciation and thank God for his mercies. When I emerged from my apartment after a 45 min nap to find that my car keys had been left in the ignition, driver’s door opened and my wallet sitting on the car roof safely, I cried out to the heavens ‘God is good!’. But today, I am not feeling God. I’ve been watching well intentioned individuals on Facebook make what I think are insensitive statements like ‘Just pray and let God’s intention work it out’ and ‘If it is his will, she will pull through’. I boil with anger and frustration. What do you mean if it is God’s will? What kind of will would allow a beautiful, smart and kind-hearted little girl to become the victim of such a terrible ordeal? Humans harm other humans. That is fact. So why are we quick to pray to a God to fix and heal our damaged hearts and minds? Why don’t we do it ourselves? These are the times that I think God is a narcissist. Someone sitting on a gold throne allowing confusion to happen all around us, confident in the fact then we will come running to him for help. Why didn’t he prevent the incident though? Where was his ‘will’ then? Why don’t we just fix our God damn selves? And don’t tell me not to question God. We question everything else, why not God? How am I to love and appreciate his existence if at times I do not understand his actions.
Since the incident, I have asked people to pray hard and pray long. I haven’t done it myself because my heart is furious. It doesn’t afford me the humbleness needed for prayer. I am not only dealing with sadness, but feeling defeated. I am internalizing everything happening around me. I do believe in a higher power. I do believe in something greater than the sum of our collective lives and actions. I believe in a God; just not today.
When the dust is settled, and I’ve dealt with my sadness, I hope to once again find comfort in God. When it is all said and done I hope to continue to be grateful for all my blessings and for those around me.
For now however, please allow me this moment of vulnerability and sadness and solitude. Allow me to find the strength and truth to pray for a phenomenal young woman who is deserving of all the great things that life has to offer. Please give me my space to sort out my feelings.
Derailed – ‘Tell God I am looking for him’