Dear Cameron Sterling,
Today my heart breaks for you.
Like many, I first heard about your dad, Alton Sterling, last week. Then this morning I saw a video of you and your mother at a press conference. Your mother’s words were strong, and with each one, I watched your heart rip in a straight line down your chest.
As if I couldn’t see it on your face and through your eyes, I watched as you began weeping and crying loudly in the arms of those around you. That’s when I knew I had watched your heart completely split in two.
I want you to know, my heart is ripping for you. It hurts, and it’s confusing and I know I don’t know you, but the feeling I have in my chest for you today is absolutely heart wrenching.
As I watched the press conference further, I learned that you had watched the videos of your dad being shot.
Literally…I have no words. I cannot fathom what you must be experiencing.
At 15 years old, your eyes are fixated on social media. The fact that I couldn’t even watch the video myself has left my brain spinning and my heart aching for the salt that has been doused in your deep wounds.
I know you will never be able to erase that video from your mind.
I can’t imagine the immeasurable amounts of unidentified emotions, pain, anger and questions you must have, let alone the blatant confusion that you must be suffering.
I want you to know that I’m sorry.
Those words feel so empty. I’ve sat here staring at my computer screen for 20 minutes trying to come up with something that sounds better than, “I’m sorry.”
Because the truth is, I can’t pretend that I understand your pain, or even fathom what your world feels like at this very minute.
On Tuesday night, you went to bed a 15-year-old kid. On Wednesday, you woke up a man.
A man who now has the responsibility of taking care of his family.
A man who is hurting so bad, but longs to be strong for his mother, brothers and sisters.
A man who no longer has his dad to lead him and teach him.
You woke up a man, who feels empty.
You became a man in an instant, but you’re still really just a kid.
I pray that you know how strong you are. And that in your strength, it’s okay to show vulnerability, and emotion.
Please don’t ever forget that.
I pray that you are able to find forgiveness, even if it doesn’t seem easy or right. Not today or tomorrow, or even next year, but someday.
I pray that this incomprehensible and absolutely mind-boggling event doesn’t cause your heart to be bitter toward God or this world.
But mostly I pray for peace. I pray that you know there are millions of people who like me, watched your heart rip in excruciating pain this morning, and we are with you. We are watching you and wanting the best life for you after this tragedy.
In this life, there is no rewind button.
In moments like this, that hard truth makes me want to punch a wall.
I wish I could push rewind for you. I wish I could stop you from watching that video. I wish that I could take away even an ounce of the pain you are feeling.
But I can’t.
No one can.
So today, Cameron, I am with you.
I am crying with you, I am grieving with you and I am confused with you.
Tomorrow, I will be praying that you take the bitterness that you feel today, and turn it into something that brings God glory, and makes your dad proud.
I’m sorry that I only have 657 words to say to you.
If you read any of them, I hope they’re these four: I am with you.