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  • Writer's pictureAshley Gray

When prayers bounce off the ceiling...

I am deeply feeling some level of grief and anger. Yesterday 17 children were murdered in their high school, by another student. My heart breaks every time. I also have a level of undisclosed anxiety now in large crowds, movies and as a student. With the Black Panther movie premier approaching, I am actually terrified that some extremist, cowardly, supremacist will see the excitement and willing congregation of Black folks as a target. I haven't really been able to enjoy a movie in years quite frankly. But back to the tragedy at hand...

Maybe we've been conditioned to have the same responses. "Sending prayers for the victims and their families" or #prayforinsertwhatevertragedy. I get it. We don't always know how to process death. But I think God is even tired of these bottomless hashtags and empty prayers. I can't speak for God, but I'm pretty sure we weren't created to do a few things...


1. Not feel. We complex emotional capacities and we don't explore them.

2. Rush healing. My best friend reminds me all the time that healing ain't linear. Nothing about it is easy and each day has to celebrate living through it one more day.

3. Send idle prayers. Don't get me wrong I think God loves prayer. I just also think God has equipped us with tools and intelligence to make changes.

4. Feel powerless. It's easy to get there, but there's always something we can do.

5. Rush to forgiveness. This one might ruffle some feathers. That's ok. I remember watching the members of the church in Charleston come out and form a prayer circle and proclaim their forgiveness. It angered me so. Not because they forgive, but because it sends the message that Black folks don't get to hurt or heal. We're the only folks that can be stolen, beaten, raped, miseducated, silenced and then told to get over it.

6. Lack empathy. Somehow apathy and Christianity got put in a blender and thus holy, feelingless robots were created.

7. Not act when we're capable and called to do so.

Y'all my heart is broken with yours today. This is the best therapy I can find in what feels like a very dark day. If you pray today, ask for guidance on what your feet, hands and mouth could be doing to change the situation.

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