Fear and worry in St. Louis

Lisa Misner Sergent —  December 18, 2014

COMMENTARY | Growing up in a small rural Missouri community just 90 miles north of St. Louis gave me the opportunity to experience some of the best the city and its surrounding communities had to offer. My family made frequent trips to the St. Louis Zoo, the Museums of Art and Natural History, Six Flags, Cardinals baseball games, the Fox Theatre, and, of course, the numerous malls and shops.

I looked forward to any and all trips into the city. St. Louis seemed so fast and exciting compared to my sleepy little farming community. I still love St. Louis and look forward to any visits I can make there. It’s because of my heart for the city and the connections I have there that the recent events in Ferguson have particularly saddened me.

I’m Facebook friends with former classmates who now live in the metro area. I’ve been following one of my classmate’s posts in particular since the evening of August 29, when a white police officer shot and killed a young black man. She and her family live in a town adjacent to Ferguson and have experienced first-hand the events that have captured the nation’s attention.

She has chronicled the fear and frustration felt by many in the community. She has also shared about being a parent of four young children and how the unrest has affected them. Some nights they could hear the sounds of the protestors from their home.

My classmate has struggled to explain to them what happened, why people are angry, why school has been cancelled, and many other related things. Along with her husband, their top priority has been keeping their children safe and also making them feel safe.

I’ve read with joy when she’s written about her faith in the Lord and knowing He would keep them safe. I’ve read with sadness when she has expressed fears for her family. When the announcement was made that the grand jury had come to a verdict, she wrote that a friend in another town had offered to let them stay in her home if they felt unsafe in their own. She jokingly posted that she hoped they didn’t have to have a “slumber party” that night.

When the school reopened following the grand jury announcement, she wrote about walking her children in and reassuring them of their safety. She also shared about barely making it out the school’s front door before collapsing into tears from stress and worry.

What my friend and her family are experiencing doesn’t have anything to do with whether you agree with the grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown. It’s about the sin that is in this world and our failure as a society to seek God.

May we turn to Him to ask for healing and understanding between all races in our nation, and for Him to be glorified through our words and actions.

Lisa Misner Sergent

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Lisa is IBSA Director of Communications. A Missouri native, she moved to Illinois 22 years ago and arrived at IBSA a few years later.