Memphis squeezes like a tube of toothpaste.
Toothbrushes are prescribed twice daily but to win, we need toothpaste. Some squeeze from the bottom, carefully rolling the tube toward the nozzle. Others grab and dab, concerned with daily allotments over presentation.
Toothpaste is messy.
Clothing, countertops and sinks can testify. Even with great care, foamy residue can cling or stain. Mirrors, faucets and backsplashes know our brushing habits.
Fatigue, sloth and disorganization can diminish oral hygiene. Bedtime brushing may be missed because bed is preferred. Morning routines suffer when we miss bedtime. If we are supposed to see the dentist every six months, how many brushings can be missed before hygienists ask, "Have you considered brushing twice per day?"
Such questions motivate me to squeeze regularly.
In the wake of being squeezed by Tyre's video, national outcry and international commentary, a few lessons emerge.
- Rinse: Opinions vary on when to use mouthwash. Some rinse before brushing, some after. Some use mouthwash in place of a morning brush. Odd to consider, but using mouthwash before brushing may reduce crumbs and chunks stuck in a toothbrush. Rinse, spit, then squeeze and brush for the win. As with teeth, so with Tyre.
- Before the video was released, Tyre's family pleaded for peace. Forethought comes before afterthoughts. Riots, like crumbs in a toothbrush, are afterthoughts. Short-circuiting knee-jerk responses, however, requires preparation. An heart has to be prepared before it's pierced. Prayer works as a form of preparation.
- Matthew 26:36 reveals prayer as preparation. "Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.”"
- Before the stresses, about which he had foreknowledge, Jesus prayed. Walking through the aftermath of Friday's footage release is going to require prayer. Eric, Sandra, Rodney, Trayvon, Tamir provide North American foreknowledge. Each situation was different, yet race seemed ubiquitous. Temptation to start the day by diving into online content, chat rooms and water cooler debates is irresistible. Opinions on federal investigations, the backgrounds of Tyre / officers and freedom of speech are important. Inquiring of the Lord, confessing our sins and waiting to hear the Lord's still small voice are more important. We rinse when we pray, study and fast before arguing, protesting or defending.
- Floss: Dental floss is prescribed because there are some areas a toothbrush misses. Dentists are indifferent about how hard we're trying. "How often do you floss?" is one of those hygienist gotcha questions. They know the answer, even as we drool and mumble half-truths in response. Flossing tells what words cannot: I pay attention to detail. As with floss, so with Tyre.
- Newsfeeds, talk shows and podcasts covet consumers. Tyre's death draws eyes and ears but there are some parts of the narrative cable news will not reach. Sitting with the Lord before diving into muckraking opining might push us in a direction other than marketers and advertisers want us to go. Feeding us online information is more about money than it is about equipping us for living. Attention to detail helps us remember consumerism consumes the consumers.
- Matthew 6:24 draws our attention to details. "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money."
- Is my spirituality subject to web-based content or vice versa? After first viewing Tyre's video, despair erupted: banana split, with sea salt nuts, substituting Nutella for syrup. Breyer's ice cream stock soared in proportion to my sadness. Publicly traded and privately held businesses have vested interests in our outrage. Dentists too; when we eat gooey desserts, crashing from sugar highs makes us more likely to fall asleep without tooth brushing. Surrendering first impressions to the Lord prevents weight gain, preserves teeth and protects decision making.
- Brush: Toothbrushes are prescribed twice daily but to win, we need toothpaste. Unlike floss and mouthwash, brushing requires collaboration. Toothbrushes are uniquely designed to go where no other objects want to, nor should, go. Find another duo designed to tackle morning breath, each morning, for months at a time. Find another product (baking soda, charcoal and oil pulling included) so wholly dependent on partnership, than toothpaste. As with toothpaste, so with Tyre.
- Police officers are uniquely designed to go where no one else wants to, or should, go. We send cops to conduct wellness checks in a house that smells. We send cops into homes and businesses to see if thieves are still inside. Limited and panicked information is the toothpaste we squeeze on them before sending them where "they're lucky we pay their salaries" to go. As unfortunate and sensational as Friday's videos were, we have to show up again tomorrow. Can we perpetually muster Friday's rage? Maybe, but we expect officers to show up professionally, without rage or indignation when we call.
- Romans 5:6-7 teaches, "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die."
- Tyre died, with God's foreknowledge. Before we saw a police officers and a citizen in frightening, messy, touching and grim motion together, the Father saw. Before we saw, the Son saw all five fired police officers, in a zip code requiring special attention. Before we saw, the Holy Spirit saw that the nation would again be in an uproar...with 911 calls holding.
Tyre's video, and his family's call for peace, seem polar opposites. Mrs. Wells has a big microphone and stage. Knowing little of her life, what has been exposed is pleas for order from stages in Christian houses of worship. Her family will have to keep showing up under the crushing weight of next steps.
Seems a lot more difficult than brushing our teeth twice a day.