Exactly three weeks prior to our moving truck arriving, three police officers were fatally shot in retaliation of a police shooting that happened two weeks before. I knew we were entering what appeared to be a racially divided city. Driving around the area, blue ribbons were on mailboxes and for sale in the grocery store, in support of the police officers. I knew these people were hurting. God didn’t just want me to know their hurt, he wanted me to feel it.
One of the men that showed up to move our items into our house was the father of Montrell Jackson, one of those officers whose watch ended just three weeks ago. He left behind a 4 month baby boy and a sweet wife. He left behind a Daddy who dearly loved his “Baby Boy”. He said when he heard the news report that morning, he immediately called Montrell. His son always answered and if he couldn’t talk, he would say, “I’ll call you later, Pops.” His son never picked up, after three attempts to reach him. He turned to his wife and said, “We aren’t going to church today, Montrell’s dead.” I remember reading about this young police officer with a passion for his community. He dreamed of being on the force in order to make a change in the world in which he grew up. He had posted on Facebook after the first shooting, sharing about his love for his community and his love for the police force. His father is convinced his son had prophesied his own death.
Later on, my 3 year old and I went to the store to pick out some items for that little baby who would never know his father. I ached for the family. I ached for the community. I wondered why God placed this father in my path. I truly believe God wanted me to bond with the community faster than I could do on my own. Why, I have yet to figure out, but while I have only been here one month, it feels like I have lived here longer. I miss home terribly, but God’s plan is not my own, and it never has been.