Tonight the parents of Trayvon Martin have had their prayers answered. Their boy's killer, George Zimmerman, has been charged with second-degree murder, and Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton let out a huge Amen along with much of the nation.
In an emotional press conference from Washington, D.C., Fulton spoke with great emotion and impressive faith first thanking God for Zimmerman's arrest: "We wanted nothing more, nothing less than an arrest and we got it. And I say: Thank you. Thank you, Lord; thank you, Jesus.”
As a mother, it's amazing to me that she's able to be thankful for anything at this point.
I live in gated community in Florida less than 10 miles from where Martin was shot, and this case has haunted me. While the race and legal issues have swam in my head as they have consumed our country, more than anything, I can't stop thinking about how Trayvon's family can possibly manage to go on after his death with as much strength as they have.
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In a petition on Change.org calling for Zimmerman's prosecution (which got more than 2.2 million signatures), his parents issued a statement titled "Why This is Important." In it was a brief story they shared that has stuck with me, and I recall each time there's a development in the case -- especially tonight. His parents wrote:
When Trayvon was just nine, he ran into a burning house to save his father's life. He may be gone, but he is still our hero.
I picture this story having been told countless time over the years, as the family recounted their son's heroics at family gatherings and to perhaps a random stranger while standing in a long line somewhere. I imagine the big dreams they had for their boy, how they planned for his future, and how they never even got a chance to say goodbye. Because in a moment -- in an innocent walk back from a convenience store for some Skittles -- he was gone. Just like that.
While their prayers about Zimmerman's arrest were answered, what about all of those they surely said for their son over the years for his healthy and happy future? How can anyone accept that there is any good in the heavens when something like that can happen? Well, that's where faith comes in, and Fulton is an incredible example of not wavering in hers. It's situations like this in which I don't know how any parents can survive without some sort of faith, and that make me question if I would have enough.
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Fulton has also shown an amazing amount of compassion for her son's killer that is the ultimate example of what religion should be about. When asked what she would say to Zimmerman, she told The Associated Press:
I would probably give him an opportunity to apologize. I would probably ask him if there were another way that he could have settled the confrontation that he had with Trayvon, other than the way it ended, with Trayvon being shot.
I hope that faith and comfort they find in God continues to carry Trayvon's parents through the rest of this ordeal, because while Zimmerman's arrest is good news, it's just the beginning.
As Martin said, there's still a need for conviction and strong sentencing ahead. This is just the first step in a long journey to justice, but hopefully it will be served swiftly. Only then we can all offer a final, bittersweet Hallelujah.
Are you inspired by Sybrina Fulton's faith? Has your faith ever gotten you through a difficult time?
Image via CBS News