I was engulfed by a mix of emotions while watching the media coverage of Troy Davis‘ execution on yesterday evening, September 21. I had spent most of the day trying to work on a paper I need to submit for publication (which would put me one step closer to defending my PhD), but breaks to check various social media outlets persuaded me to pay attention to Troy Davis. I didn’t want to pay attention to the injustices of another Black man facing capitol punishment because of a potentially wrongful conviction, because I knew it would ignite a flame in my soul that would be hard to extinguish. I just wanted to just finish my paper and be done with it. But Troy Davis was hard to ignore.
I could spend hours and countless paragraphs expressing my feelings about the legal [in]justice system, the death penalty and the states who support it. I could lament over Troy Davis’ death, and numerous others who have presumably been sacrificed in “legal lynchings”. But what stood out to me the most above all is that when describing Troy’s moments leading up to the execution, it was reported that he refused the sedative offered.
Can you imagine how mentally free and calm you have to be for you to go into your execution without the pharmacological help of anti-anxiety relief? I find that mind blowing.
Hell, I need a sedative now to keep me from throwing my computer across the room and I’m only dealing with writers block.
I think it’s truly inspiring and comforting to know that Troy Davis was so spiritually in tune with his Maker that he could face his execution on the strength of his faith alone. I think very few of us ever reach that kind of spiritual clarity and peace. It’s so easy to be consumed with our woes that we get anxious, worried, stressed and just lose our damn minds as a result. Yet here is a man who was executed, despite the questionable evidence against him, and he manages to make his peace with God, his spiritual freedom, and uses some of his last moments to express love, hope and encouragement. That is DEEP!
In light of that, I can only pray that I reach such spiritual freedom, such perfect peace. If nothing else, Troy Davis has taught me about faith and what it means to be free in the midst of confinement.
So as I sit at my desk, trying not to be consumed by my frustration of writing, I shall take a few moments to be still, to reflect on the good in life, and to know the joy that my God has given me. Even when life, and my dissertation, can seem so cruel.
In search of perfect peace,