On Things I Must Believe
By Aline Mello
There are certain things I have to believe.
I have to believe that God is good. Though it doesn't always seem like He is. It doesn't seem like His plans are always good. But I have to believe He is consistent in His goodness.
I have to believe that God thinks black people matter even more than I do. That He cares more than I do. That He is present with unarmed men as they die. That He is with armed men as they die. That He stands watch as the families grieve. That He witnesses their pain and that He grieves too. I have to believe that He empathizes more than I do.
I have to believe that God is good. Though it doesn't always seem like He is.
Shouldn't that be easy?
But it's not. Not always. Because sometimes He feels so far removed. The God who defeated death. Surely, He is bulletproof. Surely, He allows things to happen. But why? Why injustice? Why repeated injustice and oppression against specific peoples? Why deaths that are justified and explained away?
And sometimes I look at the Church. His Church. And I see the disregard. The shrugs that come with "We gotta wait for the facts," but don't they see that a man is dead and can't give his facts? Don't they hear the pain of their brothers and sisters of color? Yet the church plugs her ears and closes her eyes. It is more comfortable to ignore it. Maybe it'll go away. And where is God? Standing, ears plugged and eyes closed? Or pulling at His Church's hands?
I have to believe that God is wide awake. And present. And feeling. And strong.
I have to believe that God is wide awake. And present. And feeling. And strong. I have to believe that He has a plan. A plan that is stronger than capitalism and systemic injustices and built up bureaucracy and the majority's comfort. I have to believe that He is at work. Moving people. Bringing people together. Starting movements. Planting ideas.
Because if I don't believe?
If I don't, I lose it. I am hopeless. I carry everything on my own and stare at our current state, hands down, mouth slightly open, and I'm frozen. There's so much to do and I don't know where to begin.
I cannot believe that we will, once again, end up on the wrong side of history. I can't believe that we will ignore the Lord's direction for empathy and love and compassion. I can't believe that people's pain will be met with shrugs and apathy and pleas for "Let's just be logical."
I think this is an opportunity we have. And this is the time we have. And if we have to begin somewhere, let us begin with the people who are supposed to follow a God who heals the broken-hearted. Who cries with those who cry. A God of compassion and love, who reached across the aisle—all the aisles, the greatest aisle of all!—for love.
Aline Mello is an immigrant writer. She was born in Brazil, moved to Massachusetts with her family, and then to Georgia, where she grew up. She holds degrees in English Literature and Spanish Language from Oglethorpe University. Her prose and poetry have appeared in On She Goes, St. Sucia, Saint Katherine Review, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her sister and two pups. This article first appeared on her blog, and is reprinted here with permission.