The first attempt at writing anything about my experiences surrounding the death of Michael Brown and the events that followed can be found at Above the Fold here.
On Friday October 10th it had been 61 days since I first put my feet on the still bloody place where Mike Brown’s body had lain.
I didn’t understand my place anymore. I didn’t know what to do anymore. It seemed easy that first week, when there were clear places to be, at clear times, when the day after he was shot I went to a prayer vigil with two friends.
Ferguson October wasn’t going to be something I could fully participate in. The week after Michael Brown’s death we were extremely blessed in that we had a close family friend staying with us. And she stepped up and provided child care for those times and places we didn’t take the girls. That was a luxury, not a practicality. It wasn’t the case anymore, I didn’t have expendable childcare.
When Nate got home that Friday from work, I had realized that we were out of diaper wipes. What is odd about this is that I ALWAYS make sure we have diaper wipes. Like, the big huge Target purple box. I always make sure to the extent that if one box is even half empty, I use it as an excuse to head to Target so that we NEVER RUN OUT OF BABY WIPES, and, well, Target.
The fact that we were completely out was a little astonishing to me but I thought, “oh well, I’ll just go to Target”.
Before Nate and I did the “home handoff” a quick rundown about the girls, and the state of affairs, he noted that I was wearing my glasses.
You see, I have these “fake glasses”, I like to wear. They are these amazing ginormous tortoise shell glasses that I got when I was working at a small eyeglass boutique during our time in Bloomington-Normal. The owner as you might expect , wanted me to wear glasses when I was selling amazing high end thousands of dollar glasses. Often times people do wear fake glasses to appear smarter, or more intelligent. This was an instance where I literally needed to wear fake glasses to look more knowledgeable about the glasses I was selling. As a former Theatre Major, I was THRILLED about the idea of wearing fake glasses. Some flair, a new accessory, knowing full well I wouldn’t only wear them during working hours.
Since my time working at the store, I sometimes put on my “glasses”.
On days when I need a little more protection, days when I feel a little raw. But not always. Sometimes I think, “ooh these glasses, that outfit, together they look especially hipster”, and I’ll admit it so that maybe you can as well, I like to look “hip” from time to time. On days when I didn’t have time to shower, or put on makeup, or shower or feel as put together, I would throw on my glasses, to feel instantly “finished”, instantly “polished”.
And on that dreary Friday when I was feeling so topsy turvy about my place in regards to Ferguson and the state of race relations in our country, I put on my glasses.
Oddly enough it was my first time wearing them since dyeing my hair bleach blonde. Something that had happened since Michael Brown’s death and all that ensued. So Nate noticed, he said “Oh your glasses look really great with your blonde hair”. I said thank you, and like ships passing in the night, went to hop into the car.
I decided if I HAVE to go to Target, the least I can do is go to the Jennings Target. If you have seen the news at all, this shopping center was where command central for the police during the height of the Ferguson activity. As trite and trivial as it felt I knew I could at least go offer my mere four dollars for baby wipes.
Part of my Target liturgy is to first stop at the Target Starbucks. I’m trying to be kinder to my pocketbook as well as my gastrointestinal system, so I’ve been laying off the Hazelnut whole milk lattes and going for straight up coffee. I get a tall in a grande cup so there is more room for cream and raw sugar. . .lesser of two evils? I don’t even know.
For some reason it was taking longer than normal. I can’t remember now, but maybe they were brewing it. So as I walked around aimlessly, an African-American woman sitting there said, “Goodness, your glasses are amazing, where did you get those?”
And all of a sudden these glasses, that I sometimes wear for protection, that I sometimes wear for defending the too often on my sleeve heart, became the catalyst for conversation, that was actually exactly what I had been looking for, and needed. I learned all about her life, her children, her son who is her rock, her grand baby. And she learned about my life. We even began to start to talk about God who’s followers she had been so hurt by time and time again. Another African-American woman came up with a Mike Brown button on. She told us all about some of her plans for that weekend and what her church had been doing. The three of us held a Holy Communion as we spoke about who God is to us, who God is in this situation, and what we think God wants to do with us to bring God’s peace to earth. After about thirty to forty-five minutes had passed, it was time to go, to move on from that moment.
I held back tears of joy as I went to the baby aisle. Tears of rejoicing for a God who is personal enough to work through fake glasses, Starbucks, and baby wipes. But if I’m honest, I also held back because I didn’t want my vision to be clouded as I passed the children’s 70% off clothing rack.
My God also knows, it’s hard for me to turn up a good deal.
peace to you,