I live downtown and as a result I’ve been able to get to know several of the people who live there. A few months back I became friends with a family of sorts who lived on the sidewalk, on the corner of 15th and Island. We shared meals, lives, books and discussed difficulties, dreams, hopes and stories of the past. It was there I met Mercedes.
She was a rough woman. She didn’t make wise choices. She often made mistakes. She was often found with the wrong crowd and she was quite disenfranchised. Her life didn’t tell the story of comfort, purity and blessing. Instead her life told the story of difficulty, loss, suffering, pain, escape through drugs, and sex. I don’t know that her life knew much of joy, love, peace and freedom. I longed for her to know Jesus and to experience the life saving redemption he has to offer.
Sunday I found out the news that her body had been found in a local park. Her life had been brutally taken from her. There was not a word spoken by the media of the events that had taken place. I found out a few days after the fact from a mutual friend. Her family isn’t going to host a funeral or memorial and her life will pass away from this earth without much evidence of her having been here.
The news of her life being stripped from her in such an awful way is tragic and really hard to swallow. A loss of life worth more than a million tears, and I’ve cried them. Those who took time to know her name have cried them. Those who called her “family” on the streets have cried them.
The thing that I just can’t get past is the fact that her life has ended without the recognition of her life existing. How does one leave the earth without being noticed? How does one loose their life in such a brutal fashion without a family to grieve, get angry and seek justice.
Justice comes from being seen, loved and remembered. Over 50 homeless people have been murdered this year in San Diego. I’ve not heard one of their stories on the news. People are starving in North Korea and I don’t hear about their stories. Millions of girls are trafficked for sexual exploitation and the stories of their lives in many American cities are rarely told.
Mercedes needed someone to love her while she was here. Mercedes now needs someone to remember her life, tell her story and seek justice. Her story speaks for all of those we don’t remember. Her death is a reminder that every life is worth a million tears, love, justice and mercy. I pray you’ll cry for Mercedes and that you’ll pass on her story and the stories of others who have been forgotten. Let’s start of movement of love, expressed in seeing, remembering, and giving of ourselves.
Please share a story of a people group, person or issue that you care about to help us remember today. I think Mercedes would be happy with her life inspiring others to love well and remember the forgotten