I just spent an amazing weekend with my sisters. I call them my sisters even though I grew up as the only girl in a family with my four brothers. Maria is my cousin; I used to babysit her and we also played together; I went to her track meets. Tina and I met at summer camp when I was in grade school, became friends and have stayed close for decades even though we never went to the same schools, never lived in the same neighborhood and since college, have not always lived in the same city. Marie and Yolanda are my sisters-in-law, married to two of my brothers who are twins. I may not have had a sister in the home when I was younger, but I have been blessed with women who have come and stayed in my life.
We were so busy with each other, talking, eating, walking the streets of St. Joseph near Silver Beach, we did not watch TV, or listen to news. The only updates we were interested in were the ones pertaining to our own lives. And the laughter – how we laughed! My husband said that at one point while he was in the family room, he heard the roar of our laughter, first one voice, then another, and it just continued to roll. He knew we were having a good time, and he also knew not to ask what had driven us to laugh like that.
On Sunday, after we enjoyed a sendoff feast, a low country shrimp boil, steaming with red potatoes, sausage, and corn, along with cornbread and lemonade, I tidied up the house and settled in. There wasn’t much to clean up, because this kind of family leaves each other better off. While they were here, my family chopped vegetables for meals, cleaned and dried dishes, and tossed towels in baskets to be washed. When it was time to leave, we hugged our goodbyes and said, “I love you.”
And then I turned on the news and saw a line about Orlando. Another assault, more evidence of the lack of regard some on the planet have for the bodies and hearts of others. Another sign that some confused, lonely, or maybe vengeful people lack an understanding of what it is to walk in love with one another, or do not respect the truth that we are all worthy of love. This morning it took a while to get started, I felt off, disoriented, stunned. Each assault like this seems to creep a bit closer to my spirit, and today I am at a loss about how to stop them. Looking for answers, I went to campus for a walk, intending to listen to music or a podcast. But the noise in my head was too much, I could only be silent, walk, sit on a stone ledge to gather my thoughts, and then walk some more.
People who do not own guns are considering whether or not this is the time to purchase one. I shudder at that thought but it is a choice some have already made, and others will now do the same. Some who are concerned are arming themselves through activism, others with prayer. Those are the approaches that appeal to me. I grieves me to consider the family, friends, and neighbors who will no longer be able to see their loved ones because of the murders in Orlando, and the loss of lives because of rage, despair and intolerance is happening across our country. I pray that the injured and those who lost someone through violence have family to love them through this hard time, and I appreciate my sister-family for being here with me this weekend all the more. Peace and blessings, Ramona