I was aware of the situation. I knew. I hadn’t read everything about it, but I knew the date was coming soon, and I felt like wringing my hands–unsure of what I could do, of anything I could do to change things.
And so, with all that I had going on–from my day to dailies with all the extras added in–I let it go. I let it slide.
And. I did. Nothing.
Today as I was about to head out on yet another errand, I saw the notice that this was the day. I sighed. It was inevitable, I guess. No one was listening, and so it would happen as planned.
And I went on my way, resigned to that fact.
Richard Glossip would be executed at 4 p.m. this afternoon in Oklahoma.
Despite the new evidence and appeals to the Governor for a 60 day stay of execution, it would go through as scheduled.
When I came out of our second errand of the day, I had a notice on my phone. I sat in the parking lot in my vehicle, and I clicked on it.
And there it was:
I had hardly read the heading all the way through before tears were springing from my eyes, and I found myself sobbing.
“Oh, thank God!” I said, choked up. I whispered the words, but my hesitation of cranking up our vehicle and moving along had the littles in the back curious as to what was going on.
The thing is, I hadn’t fully realized how much this was weighing on me today until it wasn’t. The life of this man I never met mattered more to me than I knew.
And I think that’s kind of how it should be. Life is precious. Too many die each day from things we can’t control. Cancer. Heart disease. Tragic accidents. So many things. I cannot wrap my heart and brain around the killing of someone when it can be controlled. No matter which side of the law the person doing it is on.
As I attempted to explain to my two littles why my heart was happy and why suddenly I was dancing to nearly every song on the radio, they tried to make sense of it. Cooter wanted to know if it was supposed to have been execution by beheading (yes, we’ve talked a bit about those days). They wanted to know if Mr. Glossip had committed the crime he’d been accused of, and I explained that there were some serious doubts that had been presented. It was then that our Princess asked me the question that took my breath away.
“Is he African-American?”
Oh no. What?
“No, he isn’t.”
“Oh. Huh. Well, huh.” She paused. I asked her why she had asked that. “Well, when I read that book about the woman who wouldn’t give up her seat on the bus…..mmmmm…..”
“Rosa Parks!” Cooter piped up from the backseat.
“Yes! Rosa Parks! Well, in that book she talked about how sometimes folks accused African-Americans of doing things they hadn’t done just because they didn’t like them. I was thinking that might have happened this time if he had been dark-skinned like her.”
Y’all. I don’t even know what to do with that. My children are aware of social injustices at ages 8 and 10. Which is a hard and good and sad thing all at the same time.
I want them to understand. I know that is important for them to affect change and help this world heal and be better for all.
And yet, I wish we had more talks about the life cycle of the earthworm or how funny the idea of a swan with a trumpet is or about the nutritional merit of Cooter’s favorite cereal. I want to talk about happy, random things more and the serious business of life and death and justice less.
But that is not to be.
Not if I want them to grow to be strong and wise advocates for goodness, justice, and mercy.
And I do want that.
Tonight I’m thankful for the people who didn’t look the other way in Richard Glossip’s case, the ones who have hung in there and fought for justice for this man. I give thanks for the people of the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals who gave him a stay of execution for two weeks. I hope that is enough time for his attorneys to convince the powers that be to do the right thing. And I hope that is enough time for me to figure out how to stand up and speak out more on this very subject. Because it’s more than a case–it’s a life.
And I know very dearly how precious each breath each person on this earth takes is. As long as someone is taking a breath, there is a chance, no matter how big or small, for redemption.
At least that’s what I have to believe.
Because I need that grace myself each and every day.
Love to all.
All of our voices matter and can make a difference in protecting another life–one filled with grace and redemption. Read more here on how you can help. #kellyonmymind and the story of her vigil here and here