The GRIEF continues....

I write this as a continuation of another blog post I recently finished; in "I'm grieving" I take my time to grieve over 4 friends who left us too early! But since writing that, I was shocked to hear of at least 6 more friends who have died.

Since the beginning of September until the start of November 2017, so in just over 2 months, I know of at least 10 people who have passed away. There's a reason I say "at least 10", because there have been 2 more people who've been mentioned to me, but I haven't been able to confirm whether the rumors are true or not. 

All 10 of these men are younger than my parents but older than me! In other words, none of them reached the age of 70! 

All of them experienced homelessness. All of them struggled with poverty. All of them had times when they lived with the heart-wrenching uncertainty of where they’d sleep at night! All of them were exposed to the threats of hypothermia, frostbite and heat stroke. All of them were subjected to constant harassment, bullying, and criminalization. All these traumatic facts are some of the chief reasons I fight for those who are homeless and against the devastating and crippling effects of gentrification. There is so much inequality and injustice in our society. The gap between the haves and have-nots is not just a pretty pie chart, it's a "life-and-death" reality for all those captured by its gut-wrenching power! 

The deaths of my 10 friends remind me how fragile life is! 
The deaths of my 10 friends remind me how short life is! 
The deaths of my 10 friends remind me that the fight for equality is not over!
The deaths of my 10 friends remind me to keep on fighting against injustice!
The deaths of my 10 friends remind me to never give up!

The deaths of my 10 friends remind me of my need to constantly look to and follow the example of Jesus, who has never given up on those who the world considers weak and insignificant. He has also never given up on me! Jesus wept and was angry when his friend Lazarus died and I believe he weeps and is angry when he looks and sees what happened to my 10 friends. Jesus wept and was angry when he saw all the injustice happening in Jerusalem, so how can he not have the same emotion when he looks at our world and the fatalistic results of the gross inequality and injustice that surrounds us today?

When we see people sleeping in shelters, when we see people sleeping in tents, when we see people sleeping on trains, when we pass by people laying on the cold hard sidewalks, please remember these men and women have all the odds stacked against them and have a lot lower life expectancy than the national average. This is why we fight for safe permanent subsidized housing for everyone. This is why we resist gentrification. This is why we fight for the "housing first" model to be implemented. This is why we're against the unfair criminalization of those who are addicted and homeless. This is why we provide shelter. All these issues are related and our friends are dying and that is why we have to keep on pushing forward and be a voice with and for those who are voiceless! 

Unfortunately, those at the top often ignore what's going on and continue to push for more power and profit to the detriment of those struggling beneath them, and this is why we also need to keep on fighting for those struggling at the bottom! Unfortunately, our leaders often promote a culture of death to those who have-not, and this is why we need to bring life into the nihilistic culture they glorify. Change happens when we (however powerless and weak we feel) rally together for one another. We have gifts, we have talents, we have things to offer, and together I believe we can bring about change and help bring life into a dismal setting.

Don't forget: Jesus rallied from a position of weakness and non-power, he formed a loving community of peacemakers, and together light came into the darkness and the world was transformed. People had hope because Jesus brought Life into the empire of death. 

Rest in peace

Let us not forget these 10 wonderful people who left us too soon.
Let us remember them so they can inspire us to keep on hungering and thirsting after righteousness.
Let us love our neighbors as ourselves.
Let us be comforted by the reality that God is loving and just, He hasn't forgotten them and they can now rest in the loving arms of our God!

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
(Matthew 5:4)


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