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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Spady

"Yesterday, like Tom Hanks, and Jesus, I Wept":The Killing of Mr. George Floyd

In the 2000 Award winning movie CASTAWAY, with Tom Hanks as Chuck Noland, the “obsessively punctual”, FedEx executive, whose plane crashed; and he ends up on a deserted island across the Pacific Ocean; Chuck (Hanks) had to learn how to survive. His mental and physical struggle for survival did not move me as much as his emotional and spiritual survival for a relationship did.

In one scene Chuck notices one of the packages he was delivering before the plane crash, a Wilson brand volleyball. Sidebar-Interesting backstory about one of the “three” volleyballs used in the movie, it sold for $18,400. (Somewhere in the world, you can buy a Wilson brand ball for less than twenty bucks.) Amazing what we value in life.

Another scene shows Chuck (Hanks) painting a face on the ball with his blood and makes Wilson (the volleyball) his imaginary friend for a good part of the movie. For me one of the most heart wrenching and memorable scenes from this movie is when Chuck tries to escape the island and Wilson gets out of reach and Chuck is trying to get him back. He is wailing and weeping, uncontrollably all while trying to hold onto a rope attached to a raft that he had built, his only means off the island. Bobbing and weaving in the water, holding on to the raft that keeps drifting away from him with one hand, and reaching out for Wilson with the other. “Wilson, Wilson, Wilson…he screams, as he almost drowns. He watches Wilson drift farther and farther out into the ocean. He is unable to get the volleyball back, his friend. He lost his only friend. He wept.

In a more Divine reality, some say that our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ also “wept” at the tomb of His best friend, Lazarus, Martha and Mary’s brother. Some say that Jesus “wept” three times in the Bible; there at Lazarus’ tomb (John 11:35), in Luke 19:41 we find Him weeping for the city of Jerusalem, and in Hebrews 5:7 in the garden of Gethsemane the night before he was nailed to the cross, He agonized and prayed.

Believers know that Jesus “wept” (cried) many times, because He was human, He always showed compassion, emotions and empathy towards others. “Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15. In Lazarus’ situation He was emotional because the mourners showed no faith. Jesus, unlike Chuck in the movie, did not weep because his friend Lazarus had died, but because He was “deeply moved” (twice). He was “deeply moved in spirit and was troubled.” John 11:33, 38. When He arrived all the mourning troubled His spirit. He showed deep frustration and disappointment in those who had no faith.

On Tuesday, May 26, Like Jesus; (figuratively speaking, no real comparison) however, I was “deeply moved”, “troubled” “disappointed”, “frustrated”, and I wept. I wept because of the killing of George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Did I know Mr. Floyd personally? No, I did not, but I know him as a brother in Christ. I know that God created us in His image. I know that we are to love one another, like Jesus loved us. I know that we are to love one another as we love ourselves and treat our neighbors with compassion, dignity, empathy, kindness and love, like Jesus did. I know that our worth is connected to our Creator, and if God is worthy, then we as human beings must be of great value as well. Our life matters. Mr. Floyd’s life mattered and still matters. I believe that how we treat people reflects on how we value God. We are His image bearers. We are to live like His son Jesus Christ.

The image of what happened yesterday with the police’s knee, pressing on Mr. Floyd’s throat as he gasped for breath, repeating the words “I can’t breathe…” made me sad and cry. I cried because no matter what Mr. Floyd had done, he was a child of God, made in His image, and deserved the right to live, even if only to stand trial for allegations against him.

I cried because of the smirky, unemotional look on the policeman’s face as he held his knee on Mr. Floyd’s throat and bystanders begged and pleaded to release him because it was obvious that Mr. Floyd was helpless and in his last moments of life. Life that God gave him, not the four policemen who were forcing him into an untimely death.

I cried because I have an African American husband, son, male cousins, family, and friends who innocently walk out into the streets daily. I sometimes worry if something senseless will happen to them, and they will never reach their God-given purpose in life. If I may be a little selfish; that I may never see them again. Though I realize that Jesus says not to worry, because he who has faith and believeth in Him, our Creator, will have everlasting life, I am human.

I cried because my heart and mind felt sad for Mr. Floyd, his family and friends, the bystanders who witnessed the horrific incident (yet another), and yes, I cried even for the four policemen who committed the crime. For them I cried because of the society in which we live. A society in which it is okay to kill a black man in public, over a non-felonious allegation while people watch. More importantly, I prayed for all because I was reminded of what Jesus had done in the Garden of Gethsemane the night before the day He was to be nailed to the cross. He agonized and prayed. He asked God for strength and to please let the cup of death pass Him by so that he may make it to the cross to atone for our sins and… He wept. There is hope with Jesus if we keep the faith. Remembering Mr. Floyd and that “Weeping may tarry in the night but joy cometh in the morning.” Good Morning!

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