Thursday, 4 December 2014

Ferguson coda

After some days talking about the tragedies in my old neighbourhood of Ferguson, Missouri, this blog will return to its regularly scheduled programming tomorrow – traditional crafts, sustainable skills, and older ways of life in rural Ireland. Before we do, though, I wanted to tell one last story about the protests, one you'll never read anywhere else.

For more than two decades I’ve been friends with a couple in St. Louis – I met her when we were teenagers, him shortly after, and kept in close touch with them as they married, raised two kids, and a few years ago found God. When the protests started, the husband decided he would go visit the protesters – not to join a conflict, but to be a friend and witness for people in a dangerous situation. My other friend, his wife, made dozens of sandwiches for him to bring, just to hand out to people who needed something to eat.

Some nights grew tense, as protesters faced off against rows of heavily armed police and were sometimes dispersed with tear gas. On one such night, when a protester needed a place to stay for the night, my friends invited him to sleep on their couch. My friends are white and the young man was black, coming out of a flashpoint of racial tension – but they let a stranger stay in their home, no questions asked.

It doesn’t fix everything, because nothing does. But a million decencies like that can make a civilisation, or rebuild one.

Photo: Courtesy of Wikicommons, Ferguson as you'll never see it in the media -- the way it looks on a normal day.

4 comments:

Lynda D said...

Your friends showed their humanity in a time of need. Blessings to them.

Anubis Bard said...

Your last posting provoked me into trying to engage with your question about why Americans are so fearful these days. I’ve tried to build on your insights in my own post, Fear and Foreboding.

Brian Michael said...

Christian charity at its best! No questions asked. Thank you for sharing this Brian. The unknown stories that show the reality of life and what it means to care for our brothers and sisters. Fr Brian

Brian Kaller said...

Lynda and Brian, thank you.

Andy, thank you as well -- I've been reading your blog and wondering what you thought of recent events, especially in light of your survey of Americans earlier this year. I think you're quite right, and would like to get back to you with more thoughts as time allows.