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You Can't Unsee It

Imagine being in a new city for the first time. It’s a multi-cultural city with all walks of life within arm’s reach at any given moment, but you’re a young, black man, so you can’t help but want to be around your own people. To fulfill this desire, you ask a young, black woman where can you go to party with your people. And to the great dismay of your heart, you are told most clubs end up getting shot up. Imagine being told the only way you can go out and have fun amongst your own people is to risk getting shot at.

I was told this story on my trip to Chicago. We knew the black people lived more so on the south side of town, so we wanted to see more of our people. This is what we were told. I know the story was not true and that, because we were tourists, she was trying to glorify the Chicago violence, but still. If you could’ve seen her smirk when she said it. If you could’ve heard her recall the time she was shot with a sense of pride in her voice. All I could think to myself was, “Is this all we’re here for?”

This question doesn’t pertain to a particular race or city. Chicago was lovely, and if you haven’t met an amazing group of black people, even in Chicago, you’re just avoiding us in your racism. There is no shortage of good black men, and black women are just what I imagine angels to be. This question was for the world.

Did you know that just in the month of August alone I’ve read up on three shootings in three different cities in the state of Texas, resulting in the deaths of 30-plus people and the injury of 40-plus more? Just one month in one state in one country, hundreds of lives were changed by gunmen... Do you think I cried? Do you think I ripped my clothes, as the Israelites in the Bible, and poured ashes on my head just before going on a three-day fast? I did none of these things. I simply read, prayed, and continued scrolling down a timeline on social media.

I ask you again... “Is this all we’re here for?” Are we only here to suffer at the hands of each other until death finishes us? The earth slowly dies, and we only post our dreams of saving it as we scroll and continue doing the very things that will destroy our existence in the next generation. Why have we become so docile? Why have we become numb to death and destruction? Even when we go out to have fun, they follow us.

I had a driver tell me of a time when a baseball fan, perhaps drunkenly, fell from the upper deck of a stadium into the lower deck. Imagine watching a game and suddenly seeing a body fall two stories into seats. We don’t know if the man or woman died, but we do know the game was finished after the paramedics took them away.

The very same happened when a child was struck in the head by a foul ball at a baseball game. We talked about enforcing nets for the lower sections, but still the game was finished, and only a handful of nets were built in all of the stadiums. Again, death and destruction only caused us to pause and have mild concern.

The same can be said about bars and clubs. We drink, dance, and talk the night away. Some of us drink to the point of literal blacking out, forever losing our memory of a night, yet we laugh it away. Why?

Why do we point and laugh when a man or woman passes out in the bar as if stories of drunkards being raped or robbed haven’t continuously aired throughout every year? We laugh and pour a tipsy drinker one more drink as if that person isn’t driving home. Yet, we are shocked and appalled when a drunk driver kills a family, a mother, a father, daughter, son, grandfather, grandmother, or an infant.

Who is to blame? Should we blame the drinker for not responsibly knowing their limit? Should we blame the bartender for deciding to give them the drink they paid for but couldn’t handle? Should we blame the owner for wanting to make ten to fifteen dollars more off a single drunkard? Should we blame the friends who did not stop the drunkard from driving or drinking? Should we blame the other drinkers of the bar for not making sure the drunkards didn’t drive on their way out? Who do you blame?

I know when I was passed out drunk, I confidently told my friend I was good enough to have another drink. I had taken a shot of a drink I don’t even remember, and vomited it all up on the drive home. Luckily, I was not driving, and thankfully, I was with a friend who would give his life for me if it required. But, I am not excused from the wickedness we casually dismiss every day. I am at fault as well. I take responsibility.

But who will take responsibility for the abortion of a baby conceived on a night when two drunks had sex? Is it the pharmacist who created the plan B pill? Is it the doctor who performed the surgery? Is it the drunkard who got pregnant? Is it the drunkard who impregnated a woman? Is it the witnesses who watched them hook up when everyone knew they wouldn’t have done so if they were sober? Again, who is to blame?

How do we ignore all of this? The more I’ve grown with God and seen the testaments to their fruition, the more I can’t stomach the state of the world we live in. We live in a world where we expect the leaders to lie, cheat, steal, and smile in our faces. We live in a world where the people we expect to serve and protect us are instead killing and imprisoning us. We live in a world where the richest of people are in debt to the wealthiest of the wealthy people. There are so many broken systems, one of which I work for, and we just keep on keeping on. Why?

I can’t unsee it. I refuse to. I’m tired. The only thing that keeps me from weeping daily is compartmentalization and the promise of Jesus, resurrection, and New Jerusalem. If I had no hope in Christ, I would’ve been murdered someone or killed myself. If I couldn’t compartmentalize, I would be on pills for depression daily. But why are these my only two saving graces? Why is it either life after death, or tuck it all away and ignore it? Why?

People are trapped. They are stuck in ideologies that are detrimental to the mind, body, and soul. Daily, I watch people move forward because we have no other choice, but we never seem to improve. All these things that we know are wrong are continually happening every year. Women get raped and molested, infants get abandoned and killed, people commit suicide, people struggle with sexual and gender identity, gunmen shoot down civilians, men rage from bottled emotions, and governments rob their people of peace. It happens every year.

Every few weeks, the state of Texas posts on signs throughout the highway about Texas deaths on the road. Every year we reach 4,000 deaths at minimum. Yet, no one seems to be driving safer. We know people are dying by reckless driving, and yet drunkards still get on the road, drug addicts still get on the road, racers still swerve through traffic, and there are some who willing shoot up cars or throw flammable objects into other people’s vehicles. All these deaths, and sleepyheads still refuse to pull over and recover energy. We are selfish creatures.

No one budges for the sake of others. We continue to do the very things that would destroy us because we think, it didn’t destroy me this time; it won’t destroy me next time. We are like victims of abuse who confuse physical abuse with love. We think, Next time I’ll survive again. Eventually it’ll get better. Then, all of your loved ones are mourning your death because this time, you didn’t survive. Why do we entertain this insanity?

We live in a world where a man posts his wife and thousands of men and women jokingly say they’d fight him for her, or state what they’d sexually do to her regardless of her being married or not. A woman can post her husband and millions of other women will tell her why he’s not good enough for her or she’s not good enough for him, even though they decided long before the post that they were good enough for each other. We spit on marriage to the point where people actually think a lifetime commitment should only be experienced in a season…

We live in a world where millions say, “Til death do us part,” and then they cheat or divorce within a year. Spouses have “side pieces” aka adulterous partners and some people think that’s acceptable. We even have little girls and little boys dreaming about being someone’s affair just for money and comfort and, truthfully, laziness and greed.

Speaking of greed, how is it that so many “nonprofits”, “churches”, and “charities” are found hoarding all of the money that donators give them trying to be rich? Why are “beggars” leaving their nice homes and good cars to sit in the street all day making money by holding a sign with a crafted sob story to convince hard working, soft-hearted people to give them money? Why do all the wealthy refuse to extend a helping hand? How can I be required to pay an insurance company that will not replace the very thing I have insurance for? Why do we feed into these false hopes?

One false hope in particular that I despise we feed into is the lie that a man can be a woman and a woman can be a man. Why does a man think he can be a woman as if that’s not one of the most disrespectful ideologies I’ve ever seen? We could never be women, even if we tried. You can have the best surgeries, the best acting lessons, the best voice lessons, and still not be the opposite sex. If you think otherwise, there were these things called chromosomes at one point in science. Yet, we ignore the overt mental health issues for the sake of a person’s feelings, and then, somehow, a man is given the Woman of the Year award.

The reason for this ranting is to show you, I can go all day about the wickedness of this world. There seems to be no end to the suffering, the tears, the pain, and the heartache. This hurts. From the day we shed our mother’s blood in the womb to the very last breath we draw, we suffer. We hurt, and are hurt by, others throughout our lives. Sometimes I wonder how we ignore it and keep moving every time.

Then, I remember Jesus Christ. I remember the truths of the Bible. I remember the truths of my experiences of having prayed and had my prayers answered. I’ve learned to pray for needs and not wants. I’ve learned to pray for what God wants rather than what I want. I am learning to pray for others more than I pray for myself. I’ve learned to see the beauty in all of the ashes.

We are burning. We are a fire consuming the planet, and each other, before nothing is left. The bad part, is that this life is just an oven on preheat. We have yet to reach the pinnacle of the flames of destruction. That terrifies me.

However, fire can consume and fire can propel. Fire can burn and fire can warm. If we’re going to live together, we’re going to have to get better at propelling each other higher and warming each other up in cold times. We can’t just see and scroll or watch and do nothing. We have to stand up for one another and be more considerate of the people around us.

That means when a person is drinking too much, you stop them. When a person wants to rob or rape, you stop them. When a person wants to molest someone, you stop them. We must stop aborting children and putting ourselves or others in the position where we feel like it is required. We must stop ignoring mental health issues.

The Bible said it long ago, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”[1] If you don’t know who your neighbor is, the Bible already answered that as well[2] (Luke 10:25-37). Your neighbor is any person you come across that is struggling. For all of us, that is our next door neighbor, our coworker, our friends, our family, our enemies, the homeless, the foreigners, the acquaintances, the bosses, the subordinates, the preachers, the pastors, the doctors, the dentists, the policemen and policewomen, the inmates, the criminals, the soldiers, the janitors, the poor, the hungry, the volunteers, the rich, and all people who are struggling. People, animals, and plants alike, we must love them. In order to love them, you must first love yourself.

If no one has told you today, I appreciate the fact that you’re still here (and really appreciate you if you’re still reading). Many people have committed suicide and robbed us of their presence in this life. I am glad you haven’t done that. I need you here. Please understand that yes, I may have said some things against you earlier in this blog, but please know that just because we don’t agree doesn’t mean I don’t need you. I do need you.

You know who needs you more than I do? God. As an artist, I understand what God means when He said, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”[3] He also said, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you…”[4] Then, He said, “For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover, whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.”[5]

As I begin working on my third novel in a series, I know there are characters that have yet graced the pages of the book. Everyone else’s stories are coming to a conclusion, and their stories have yet to even begin. That doesn’t mean these characters currently unwritten are not just as valuable and just as important to the overall story than the characters who were there in the beginning. There is a time and purpose for everything[6], and every character must play their role when it is time or the conclusion of the story won’t be what I need it to be.

Just the same, you are important to the story God is writing for humanity. Every day you wake up and present yourself before people who seemingly ignore you or look over you. Know that God does neither. He welcomes you with the gift of breath in the morning and cheers for you victory throughout the day. He wants you to see the value He sees in you. If you see no value in yourself, you are lying to yourself. You are valuable. Walk in that value. If you can’t see the value, find someone you think is valuable and find a way obtain that value until you see it in yourself.

Please… I know that evil abounds everywhere. I know that thousands of people are missing because of harvesting organs and sex trafficking. I know that politicians, kings, and queens are planning on bombing each other’s innocent people. I know there are cartels and drug dealers that will sell drugs to children and those who will later overdose and die. I know that certain family members are private molesters of the children. I know priests are at times rapists. I know that there are individuals out there who want to go on a shooting spree. I know that religious extremists are plotting acts of terrorism. I know that there are people who are still leaving their pets and babies in heated cars in the summer. I know there are still buyers and sellers of child pornography. I know many of the things I mentioned may go on until the day we die, but still, if I have reached you, please, be greater than these things.

Do not be the person that leaves the “high moral ground” to the “do-gooders” and “saints”. These acts are hard but not impossible. You are capable. If you were not, you would’ve never been born human. Do not separate yourself from good, but run to it, cling to it, and live with it. It is possible. You are capable.

According to the mouths of people, I was supposed to be a troublemaker. I was supposed to be participating in homosexuality, in and out of jail, a baby daddy, an alcoholic, an abuser, and all sorts of things simply for being raised in a divorced home by a single mother. Both of my parents were raised by abusers and alcoholics. But I am not these things. The Gospel of Jesus Christ got ahold of my parents, and they, father and mother, raised me accordingly. Then, the Gospel and its Author spoke to me, and I was freed from the fate of my family and circumstances. I refuse to treat people less than the beauty God says they deserve[7]. May you also be freed from your fate and elevated into things upright and helpful to others.

The Bible has spoken on all things we are dealing with today. If you have a question, there is certainly an answer in a text written well over 2,000 years ago. It is that powerful and it is that true. Don’t buy into the lie that it was for a time long ago. I have read it several times and what is written in there happens in this world today. The Bible speaks on men sleeping with stepdaughters and daughters, families selling daughters into prostitution, men raping women to death, women setting men up for their deaths, soldiers killing children, kings ordering the deaths of babies by feeding them to alligators, and many more horrible acts that you see today.

However, throughout the Bible there is a line of hope every time. That line of hope is not just a religion, but it is the truth. The truth is: we are all family, though we don’t all act like it. We were created to be in the family of God, though we all don’t act like it. God recognizes it and constantly calls out to us to acknowledge His presence. There are those who walk in His presence, and therefore, His love. There are those who abandon His presence, and therefore, enter into an absence of love.

There is no person in existence that can love me more and better than Jesus Christ. In a way too complex to put in this particular blog, I have understood a portion of what He is trying to do. He is trying to love everyone and get everyone to love everyone. He has written what is love and what is not. It is up to you to accept what is true and good or reject these things.

To those of you triggered by my words, it’s okay to disagree. If you are planning on being wicked, as defined in the examples above, please think about it long and hard before you do it. Please consider yourself, others, God, and life. We don’t need to see anymore evil. We’ve seen enough. Please, for all of us and yourself, decide to be the good someone sees. In all the evil I’ve seen, the goodness is what motivates me. Be someone’s goodness today. Be the fire that warms them when they are in the cold. Be the fire that lights their path when they are in darkness. Be the fire that propels them when they attempt to fly.

Thank you for reading,

Dario Augustus


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