Written by Ellen Huang.
How quick we are to pity murderers.
Not because we see ourselves in them, I don't think
but because of course a white woman's perceived safety
matters more than the life of the black
human in his own home.
Beautiful, you say. You exclaim, you advertise.
How quick we are to jump at forgiveness stories
How quick we are to meet the brutal
with a sparkling golden paintbrush.
I cannot deny the beauty of undeserved grace
I cannot deny that I trace my own faith and being
back to a bloody crucifixion and shower of grace.
Yet I am sickened.
How quick we are to paint keening, lamenting mothers
righteous anger-filled sisters
human, human bodies
as dramatic once you get that relief of grace.
How quick we are to paint murderers and manslaughterers
as nice normal people with bubbly personalities
who now suffer that they're depressed
while families for generations suffer
for no reason.
A bright light of a being, a human in his own home.
Never mind his nice, normal personality.
His death was just
an honest mistake.
How strange, we think his brother's
Christlikeness in forgiveness
means no one else is allowed to be angry.
Perhaps different people
can embody Christ's body
of grace & mercies
Yet still righteously.
because we cannot bear to empathize
with the pain
And while I wrestle with knowing
my potential for evil
my nonchalance for overwhelming
eating food with blood on my hands
for not knowing the systems that feed me,
myself in sin gone unchecked—
while I know hatred is murder in itself,
as my savior of color once said;
while I know I would be devastated without measure
in her place, wondering how the hell did I get here,
what has my anger brought me to?
while I know grace is undeniably
ridiculous & miraculous & beautiful—
I still wrestle and wonder with the temptation in me
that immediately assumes I can forgive
what only God can forgive.
There are two instincts in me now,
one that cries for justice, with clarity
that all these underaged, bullet-ridden ghosts exist.
The other, ingrained and far deeper stifled,
that split-second considers how easy it is
to give another life, give another chance.
A refund on this trauma. Whites get many lives.
How quick we are to pity the murderer.
Ellen Huang holds a BA in Writing + Theatre minor from Point Loma Nazarene University. Her work has appeared in Diverging Magazine, Amethyst Review, The Oikonomist, Wax Poetry & Art Magazine, They Call Us, Rigorous Magazine, and Our Daily Rice, among others. She writes semi-spiritual reflections on underrated films and has directed short theatrical works such as "Genderbent Lifehouse Everything Skit," "Cannot Separate: A Skit for Our Times," and "Cross the Horizon: The Gospel According to Disney," which can all be found on her site: worrydollsandfloatinglights.wordpress.com. Much of her material is grounded in themes of progressive faith and platonic love.