I’ve always felt like I have a small Texas hometown–the place where I was born and raised–and a big hometown, Dallas.
I fell in love with the city the first time I saw it when I was 14, on the occasion of the wedding of my brother and sister-in-law. They’ve lived in Dallas County their entire adult lives. Their children and grandchildren have lived in Dallas County from birth.
Most of my many friends live in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. I attended both undergraduate and graduate school at two of the area’s outstanding institutions, the University of North Texas and Southern Methodist University.
I served as a chaplain at two of the city’s biggest and highest quality hospitals, always working nights in Emergency Rooms and ICUs where I was in constant contact with law enforcement officers. (I remember one night when a Dallas officer was shot, not too seriously as it turned out, and I ushered the Dallas PD chaplain to the cop’s room. There were so many officers on and off-duty, in and around the hospital, that I wondered if there were any officers on patrol anywhere.)
My heart was always secretly in Dallas even when I worked for 14 years for a Houston newspaper.
I revel in some kind of intangible vibe every time I drive or fly into Dallas and see that beautiful, iconic, unique skyline.
At least one United Methodist clergy friend of mine was at that now famously peaceful protest rally but left before last night’s now famous shooting broke out. The son of another clergy friend noted on Facebook this morning that his son was 150 feet away from the first officer who was shot.
It’s overwhelming to think of the number of Dallas people in shock ranging from staggering to crippling this morning.
I would give anything to stand on Dallas soil with so many dear friends for the interfaith service at the city’s beautiful Thanksgiving Square at noon today.
I will be there in heart and spirit, praying for the healing of the city and all the victims and their families and for all of us hurting all over America and abroad.
I am praying with all of my broken heart that the redemptive power of love for one another regardless of race or creed will prevail over racism, fear and anger.
I pray that we will come together as one nation under God and for liberty and justice for all.
Come to us today, Lord, come.