Communal suffering has to be reckoned with. And so does God’s healing word.

A few weeks ago, I arrived at the airport a little early to pick up a friend and decided to pull over in the emergency lane to wait. I knew it wasn’t the right thing to do, but there were 20 cars already there, so I figured my decision wasn’t too bad.

Moments later, however, I heard a siren and saw police car lights in my rearview mirror.

Without warning, my hands began to tremble, my breathing quickened, and my legs started to shake. I called my husband and told him what was happening. My body was going into full-fledged panic mode.

As the officer approached, I could barely catch my breath. Images of Black men and women shot for minor offenses raced through my mind. Would I be labeled as a criminal who broke the law, or as a mother, wife, and minister who served the Lord? Would I be lumped into the countless names of Black people who have died for misdemeanors, or would I be among the privileged few who escaped alive?

By the time the officer came near to my car, I could barely see. He stood at a short distance, asked me to breathe, and helped me to calm down. With my husband still on speaker phone, I finally found the words to say, “I’m sorry.”

What followed in my mind was, “Please don’t hurt me.” In that moment of panic, I could not distinguish the kind officer in front of me from everything I had seen on the news.

My traffic citation gave the other offending cars an opportunity to drive off and, when he finally left, I began to cry. I cried for all of the Black men and women who begged for their lives and still died. I cried for Manuel Ellis, Philando Castile, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Alton Sterling, and so many more.

The list grows by the day. During …

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