Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The 49 . . .

They loved.  They were loved.  And they will be missed.

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old

VBS, Orlando, Hamilton, and the unimaginable

Most of what I knew about Alexander Hamilton was what I learned in school.

Namely, that he was a Founding Father of the United States, that he was our first Secretary of the Treasury, that his picture is on the 10 dollar bill, and that he died in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Last night I went to our Vacation Bible School.  Before our minister started the lesson, he talked about what happened in Orlando.  He shared the song, "It's Quiet Uptown," from the musical "Hamilton", which won the Tony Award for best musical on Sunday.

The song describes the grief of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton after the death of their son Philip.  Philip publicly called out a man who had insulted his father.  In the ensuing duel, Philip was shot and died 14 hours later.

I had not known that Philip, too, had died in a duel.  Philip died in 1801.  His father would die the same way in 1804.

Our theme for VBS this year is "Moses: Nothing Can Stop Us!"  I'm sure that our minister intended for us to learn about Moses, about how God was "I Am", and that He would always be with us.

Instead, I left with the words and melody of "It's Quiet Uptown" ringing in my head, and with perhaps a tiny taste of what 49 families are experiencing right now.

The unimaginable.



There are moments that the words don't reach
There is suffering too terrible to name
You hold your child as tight as you can
And push away the unimaginable
The moments when you're in so deep
It feels easier to just swim down.


The Hamiltons move uptown
And learn to live with the unimaginable.


I spend hours in the garden
I walk alone to the store
And it's quiet uptown
I never liked the quiet before
I take the children to church on Sunday 
A sign of the cross at the door
And I pray
That never used to happen before.

Angelica and women:

If you see him in the street
Walking by himself
Talking to himself
Have pity


Philip, you would like it uptown
It's quiet uptown

Angelica and women:

He is working through the unimaginable.

All men (except Hamilton)

His hair has gone grey
He passes every day
They say he walks the length of the city.


You knock me out, I fall apart

Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)

Can you imagine?


Look at where we are
Look at where we started
I know I don't deserve you, Eliza
But hear me out
That would be enough.

If I could spare his life
If I could trade his life for mine
He'd be standing here right now
And you would smile
And that would be enough
I don't pretend to know
The challenges we're facing
I know there's no replacing what we've lost
And you need time 
But I'm not afraid
Just let me stay here by your side
That would be enough

Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)

If you see him in the street
Walking by her side
Talking by her side
Have pity


Eliza, do you like it uptown?
It's quiet uptown

Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)

He is trying to do the unimaginable
See them walking in the park
Long after dark
Taking in the sights of the city


Look around
Look around

Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)

They are trying to do the unimaginable


There are moments that the words don't reacy
There is a grace too powerful to name
We push away what we can never understand
We push away the unimaginable
They are standing in the garden
Alexander by Eliza's side
She takes his hand


It's quiet uptown

Company (except Hamilton and Eliza)

Can you imagine?
Can you imagine?

If you see him in the street
Walking by her side
Talking by her side
Have pity
They are going through the unimaginable.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Can't deal, can't shuffle

I had several blog posts mentally written last week.

I was going to write about my first "Bye, Felicia," delivered to an unsympathetic male about the Stanford rape case.

I was going to write a serious post about that same case.

I was going to write about some of my observations about faith.

I was going to write about what I planned to do between now and Election Day (which includes, going off the grid on Election Day.)

But after yesterday?

After fifty dead in a pool of blood, the victims of slaughter at the hand of someone who, because he was angry at two men kissing in front of his young son, decided to take it out on an entire group?

After this same person claimed allegiance to ISIS in a 911 phone call?

After the outrage that has exploded on social media, and rightfully so?

I cannot.

There are people dead.  There are cell phones ringing in the pockets of dead people that will never be answered.  There are text messages that will never be responded to.

There is a city in shock and anguish.

Our President has, once again, gotten up to address a mass shooting, and called for tougher gun laws. It's the same cycle that has repeated itself too many times.

Since December 14, 2012, when 26 people died at Sandy Hook, there have been 1001 mass shootings in the United States.  This statistic comes from the Gun Violence Archive, which defines "mass shooting" as an event where four or more people, not counting the shooter, were shot at the same general time and location.

Yesterday, I listened in shock and outrage.  I whispered, "Oh, my God," when the news alert came over my iPad that 50 people were dead.  I listened to the radio while I was waiting for my husband to come out of church.  I listened to the radio again while I was lying down during the afternoon.  After my husband and son went to bed, I watched CNN.  I posted on Facebook.  I read reactions.

Today's headline in the AJC simply reads:  MASSACRE.

My heart is sad and broken.

And I am numb.

I have become numb to the reports of shooting, of terror, of hate, of anger and fighting.  Shooting and violence and terror have become a way of life.  Such reports are almost to be expected.

Today, I grieve.

And I also have to take my son for his senior portraits.

And I have 87 pages to proof.

And I have dinner to make.

And I have told my son that I will take him to our VBS.

And I need to get my prescriptions.

And I need some more frozen berries and eggs.

And I need to return two library books.

I can't deal.

Not only can I not deal, I cannot even shuffle.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.

Sunday, June 12, 2016


"Someone, somewhere will try and make this about something else. Many will blindly follow because they believe in philosophies, politics, and causes more than they love people, but all that happened in Orlando is 50-people made in the image of God were slain.
To think about much more at this moment, reveals our callousness to life."

Sean Palmer, Minister at The Vine Church, Temple, TX

I don't care who you are or what political, social, religious, or whatever philosophies you hold.

No one deserves to be targeted for murder.

No one.

No one.

Just my .04, adjusted for inflation.