Ahmaud Arbery, was shot and killed in Brunswick, Ga., on February 23rd. It took 74 days for an arrest to take place. The murder was videotaped, and you’ve likely seen it. Amidst everything else going on in our world, I wanted to ignore this, or write it off as “over there” and some combination of COVID stress factors- but I like to run. These days we look at the news and see death totals from COVID, so one death can almost be ignored- but I like to run.
Running is simple, it’s cheap, and I can do it anywhere. I like to talk with God while I run. I’ve chosen to run in some areas like Addis Ababa where I was a little nervous exploring on my own. Though I was maybe the only white guy within miles, my concern wasn’t my color.
I’ve had beer bottles thrown at me jogging in my own neighborhoods, but I was just the mobile target for some idiot. Fact is I have never felt danger running because of my skin color. So when I ran yesterday, I wondered what it would feel like to constantly assess threats because of my skin color. At that moment, I didn’t like running.
In February TJC talked about racism and we talked about seeing with eyes of the heart, Ephesians 1:18 and learning to see supernaturally as a King, Lover, Warrior and Teacher.
Today I need to go to the optometrist and get my lens checked as I need more clarity and need to see the raw ugliness and not ignore this single death. I have no clue who Ahmaud was, but I have all I need to know – to not accept his death. He was created by God, he lived in America, he had a family that misses him, and he went out for a jog and never came home. I can’t ignore that.
Within TJC, we don’t read DBPs to feel a little challenged or to sacrifice a little time reading the Word. We disciple men to know victory in this kingdom. Ahmaud was created for victory just like each of us, and on February 23rd, he lost, his family lost, and America lost. And I realized, I lost. I can no longer enjoy the simple gift of going on a jog.
So what is next? Where do my lenses need focusing ?
King – I haven’t made this an issue personally in my area of influence. That must change.
Warrior – is my neighborhood a safe zone for everyone? Do I ensure that the not so nice neighborhood across the city is safe? Do I even go there for a jog?
Teacher – we don’t get to do a TJC series a couple months ago and call it good. We are going to keep picking scabs off wounds that aren’t heeled. Racism is not healed and, if it hurts one, it should hurt us all.
Lover – Ahmaud I never met you. I bet you’d have enjoyed running with the “slap happy crew in DC”; we would have picked on you the first run and intentionally done hills. It’s not personal, we do hills with all the new people. After that we pray and invite others to join us. We got the name “slap happy” as we just enjoyed running and passing on our energy to anyone and everyone.
I can’t explain this, but I miss your energy thinking about this. I didn’t get to see you be frustrated with another hill. I didn’t get to see you laugh doing a high five with another jogger going the other way. And because you can’t, I don’t get to just head out the door now thinking it’s just another day in the Kingdom. But Ahmaud we can do this – we will keep picking this scab of racism because you were murdered for simply doing something I enjoy.