Claire CarterI am not sure what hurts more: the heart-breaking grand jury decisions in Ferguson and New York or the heartless responses I see on social media. Either way, my blood is boiling. One particular detail, however, sticks like a thorn in my side, interrupting my sleep, my laughter, my studies.

In a paid interview with ABC News, former officer Darren Wilson defended his killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old. When asked what he was thinking or feeling in the moments before he shot this young man, Wilson responded with a straight face: “The only emotion I ever felt was fear.”

He was afraid that he was going to lose his life. He was afraid that this stranger was going to harm him. He immediately acted on that fear because he could not possibly see - either in that moment or now- any other outcome than death. 

This, among other things, breaks my heart. Wilson cannot imagine any other possible outcome. And he is not alone!

So many Americans - of all races and ethnicities - cannot see a path out of our current darkness. They feel that there is no possibility to change the way things are - the violence, death, corruption and greed that harden our hearts. We have become frozen, cold to dissenting voices, unwelcoming to the other’s fear and pain. We are locked up within our closed social groups, becoming more and more isolated from the rest of the world and one another. We reject new ideas. Cries for help from children and the poor bounce off of our frosty exteriors. Darren Wilson, frozen by his own fears, could not imagine any other way.

But I can. I can imagine a million new ways forward. Sure, lots of them are improbable and they may look impossible, but I can imagine. In the cold, dark night of our times, I am warmed by the waters of the Living God. This Spirit flows in me and through me, assuring me that I must and can let go of fear, hatred and greed. There is a power that can unlock all of these frozen hearts, a power that can wash over our wrongs. There is a power that can bring low the mighty and lift up the meek. God’s love is the raging force just waiting to burst out of every heart. We need a climate change. We need a global heart-warming. We need creative waters to cover the earth so that we can imagine and pursue new possibilities for life together.

We will only freeze again if we do not move with the Spirit. We must act now. We must speak for the voiceless, fight for the oppressed and, most important, weep with the wounded. We cannot let the wrongful deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Tamir Rice and so many others be forgotten. Black lives matter. All lives matter.

Candler is training students to swim in the life-giving streams of God’s love. Even in the midst of Advent, the season of waiting, students, faculty and staff are protesting on campus. They are holding a die-in on the steps of the chapel, so that the oppressed in America might have new life. There are people here who take their tears for every hurting child of God and build a tide against the evil in the world. We can imagine new life, and we know we are not alone. Will you swim with us? Will you even teach us a new stroke? It is never too late to learn.