It was raining in New Orleans on Saturday. Rain has always been a comfort to me. The slow tap of rain against the window or rolling thunder has always eased the tension in my mind. Living in Arizona for two years, the rain after a hot day and a sand storm pulling through, the cold drops of rain felt good against my skin as I, more often than not, danced in the street. For it to rain on Holy Saturday feels appropriate. The day before Jesus rises and the day after Good Friday. Everyone always forgets about Holy Saturday.
Saturday was a community day. Before going to Laser Tag for Haley’s birthday, we watched The Farm which is a documentary on Angola, the Louisiana State Penitentiary. In 2010, Angola had 5,100 inmates (Wikipedia). Of those inmates, 76% were African-American, 24% were white, 71% were serving life sentences and 1.6% were sentenced to death. The name Angola comes from the plantation that used to sit on the site in West Feliciana Parish. In 1952, a judge named Robert Kennon was sent to “clean” Angola up. The Main complex was built in 1955 and the convict stripes were put to an end. In the 60’s, Angola was known as “The Bloodiest prison in America”. One thing Angola is famous for is the Rodeo. Held every Spring and Fall, Inmates wrangle cattle and race horses around barrels for extra money. Most times it’s less than a dollar. It was devastating to see some of their perspectives. Some of these men were wrongfully convicted. It brought to mind the man I know in prison.
Neil Lyness was driving on I-64 West driving from Chesapeake, Virginia to Norfolk, Virginia. Sandie Amaya and her daughter, Sophie Lopez, were driving on I-64 East to Virginia Beach from Norfolk to visit Sandie’s and my grandmother who was going back home to California the next day. Lyness took 50 muscle relaxers, which have been known to cause seizures, before getting into his SuperDuty Ford and speeding down the interstate. He seized, passed over the grass median, and crossed four lanes of traffic before hitting Sandie and Sophie, my sister and niece, and killing them instantly. That day was September 25, 2013. That day was my Good Friday.
I struggled watching this documentary because of my personal beliefs. This man is guilty and doesn’t deserve to be free. But the conflicting parts of my mind attack each other. One side is saying “This is different. Those men know they are guilty and admit it”. The other side is screaming ” But, just like in the film, he is human too!” Why is it such a struggle to find his humanity and easy to find theirs right away? This man killed my sister and niece and is sitting in prison. I watched these men struggle with parole hearings, pardoning’s and living in prison and I sit here wondering what his life is like in Deerfield and feeling upset because I shouldn’t be worrying about the man I can never forgive. I’m stuck in this Limbo. I’m in my own personal Holy Saturday.
I’m trapped in the middle of Good Friday and Easter. I’m waiting to rise again from the tomb. My Easter will come. Maybe I’ll forgive, maybe I won’t. Maybe I’ll come to terms with what happened, maybe I won’t. For right now, I’ll be in Holy Saturday waiting and hoping the Easter rain will come.
Love and Blessings,