By Bill Mefford
I remember when a young man who used to be in my youth group died unexpectedly just a few years after I had left. It was awful. I loved this kid. His name was Tate and he was a teddy bear - a very large, but incredibly loving teddy bear. I felt so empty and incapable of being able to say anything to the family, who I still love so much. Their hurt was so deep and raw and I had no idea what to do or say when I traveled back to the small town for the funeral. So, I did the only thing I could do: I just hurt with them. I cried with them thinking about how lonely we would all be without his presence and I laughed with them at all of the memories. And I listened. I just was with them.
And you know that time I was with them for the funeral and the service where I gave his eulogy I do not remember hardly anything I said. But I remember crying and laughing and listening and just being there. Just sitting there. The memory of just being with them still brings me healing when I miss Tate even now and I can’t believe he is gone.
Today donald trump will wrongly go to El Paso and Dayton and it feels to me like he victimizing the people there a second time. These are families dealing with unbelievable tragedy as well as families of those injured dealing with uncertain futures. It also includes the communities at large who are left to pick up and move on after their lives have been upended by the violence in their backyards. But he is going and just before he left he of course went after Beto O’Rourke in yet another one of his vicious attacks on people.
Just think of all he should have been doing last night and this morning before he left. He should have been preparing for his trips. He should have been learning the names and stories of of those who died. He should have been getting briefed on where the investigations stand. He should have been learning the names and stories of those in the hospital for his visits there. You do this so you can bring comfort, so you can share something with the families you learned about their loved ones that impressed you or touched you. He should have been praying - praying for strength to be strength for others, for wisdom on what words to say, and for grace to be love and support for others. There is so much to do to prepare before you go on one of these visits, much less two.
This is about being human. This is about relationships. This is about valuing people in their most vulnerable state. This is about centering the the hurt and pain of others. This is about healing. This is about THEM - the people who were killed, the people who were injured, the families, and the communities.
But for trump, THEM don’t matter; only he matters. That is why he did none of this and instead went after Beto O’Rourke because Beto rightly has consistently said that the shooting in El Paso especially was a direct result of the language of trump and the legitimization trump has given to white nationalism and white supremacy. Once again, in a time of crisis, trump has made it about himself. he is mentally and spiritually unable to center others. He can only center himself. This is why he is morally unfit for office.
So, now we, the country, have to pray not only for the families and loved ones and all of Dayton and El Paso to heal from these unspeakable acts of evil. We have to pray for healing from the second act of victimization they will undergo in less than a week: a visit from our national Racist in Chief.
I believe in the miracles of the Old and New Testaments. I believe God can do things beyond what we ask or imagine. And so I am asking God to do a miracle now; something that none of us believe is possible. I am praying for donald trump to be struck mute. I am praying that he will just be quiet. Don't go to El Paso or Dayton. Let people heal. Stop talking, stop tweeting. Just stop. Him not talking for 72 hours (or longer) would bring so much healing. Just be quiet.