Welcome to Ryley Writes, a collection of thoughts, stories, and work from deep in the heart of Texas.

Less, More

shoutout my iPhone

shoutout my iPhone

This past week has really been something, hasn't it?

Just one injustice after another, the kind you can't really wrap your mind around.

As things unfolded, the world reacted in real time — a response almost as overwhelming as the events themselves. Anger, sadness, hurt and disbelief, shared by a global community via fingertips.

I understand and appreciate the outpouring, but have not added to it myself.

Part of that, frankly, is that I struggle for graciousness when it comes to the topic of racism. I don't understand it, nor am I interested in trying. People are equal and different colors. If you somehow, inexplicably, do not understand that; God bless your heart, because I am not so inclined.

Most of my best friends early on in college were black — many of them male, and football players, to boot.

"What do your parents think?" I was asked — and asked often.

The question was always met with my blank stare — first because I didn't understand the question (They're um... glad I have friends? I think? And my dad thinks one of them should be returning punts more often?), then because I couldn't believe what was being asked.

Right or wrong, I didn't have the patience or heart to delve into an intelligent conversation about or deconstruction of that kind of ignorance.

In the rare moments when I did address the issue, my words were carefully selected and meticulously aimed. One kill shot delivered to a hallmate after a particularly brash joke left her dissolved in tears. I made my point, but like the end of a spear; with the intention of hurt, not healing.

If the goal is growth in love and likeness of a God who extends unconditional and undeserved grace, then I have a long way to go in this particular area. With that in mind, I try to wait to speak until I've checked my heart against His.

The other reason I've not said anything, though, is much simpler, and it's this:

I'm sad.

"Your silence is anti-black" has been a popular rally cry amidst the sympathy on social media for the past few days. I get where it's coming from; but with all due respect, no, my silence is not.

Silence can be a sin of omission, but it can also be a stage of grief.

My silence isn't anti-black, my silence is mourning. In a time of chaos, I'm not convinced we need more noise; and may I be blunt? If there is no connection between your mouth and head and heart, that's all your voice is.

I think we can all agree that following hastiness and pointed guns with hastiness and pointed fingers is probably not helping anyone's wounds heal. There must be accountability, and there must be justice; but for those of us not directly involved, what about a little gentleness as opposed to imitation?

Be loud, and speak out, and by all means, declare truth. But let's do it with dignity and do it with love, and let our heartbreak be greater than our online fervor. Less hashtags, perhaps, and more hope.

I am sad for lost lives and I am sad for injustice, and in moments like this I'm thankful to serve a God who understands sadness firsthand.

And I'm thankful that redemption — even life from death — happens to be His specialty. Words fail. His goodness and power do not.

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away." Revelation 21:4


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