Nightmares follow me or maybe I follow them. I was tossing and turning in a foreign bed. The road is often unkind to me. Event after event leaves me weary. I saw Emily torn to shreds by the bullets of the police. I knew the consequences of standing with Jesus. How did this happen? I rushed to Emily’s side and in the midst of her final breaths, I shot up and opened my eyes. The strange scent of a friend’s home helped me to get my feet on the floor. The images were painful and fresh as I tried to move. The water of the shower simply would not wash the nightmare off. If you live in Texas, violence stalks you whether your eyes are open or not.
The rain pounded my windshield. I wanted to cry. Depression finds me at the cruelist times. Looking around on the walk in, I realized the church met in a really conservative space. When I pushed open the heavy doors, I could feel the weight of the decades of oppression. This house of horrors was complete with stained glass depictions of a white Jesus encircling the space. Though the people were warm and inviting, I couldn’t get past the space. I arose and started to speak. I knew I couldn’t tell them everything that I was feeling…no one would hear me…but I had to tell them enough. Those in power get to name the God. The stained glass windows of a white Jesus might as well have been guns trained on the worshipers to make sure that they didn’t get too far out of line. We have one God in Texas and its name is violence.
The miles past slowly. My bladder filled to capacity and I resisted. I have an aversion to stopping. Pulling off the interstate, I noticed chaos. People running. Police swarming. Bikers being arrested. Motorcycles everywhere. I looked up at the location, Twin Peaks. On this day, violence against women turned into violence against each other. There was nothing I could do. Struggling to come to terms with what I saw, I got in my car and headed north. Calming down, I finally got the courage to look at my phone. Nine people dead and dozens injured. Two hundred arrested. I realized that I witnessed the aftermath of a massacre. I needed to pull over and get some relief. The bell dinged and I went straight for the juice. I love juice. When I got to the register, I just wanted to purchase my drink. The lady at the register smilingly remarked, “We have our Confederate flag bandanas buy one get one free…we are trying to make room for the new ones.” Taking my juice, I walked out to the car in a daze. I am still there.
When you live in a place where violence is a religion, you just try to stay awake through the nightmare of it all.
God damn Texas and save us.