Pray For Flint

64292_10205366230139129_3218545147578870130_nI remember the day well, it was Sunday. November 9. Bailey Vigland Barnes was singing Shine On for the Frankfort Congregational Church, a request after her amazing and heartfelt performance at Isaac’s service. We had gone out the night before to hear Samuel Seth Bernard perform a benefit concert for us at The Cabbage Shed. We were feeling the long night, on this morning. But we went to church, my girls and I. As often happens, we got the giggles. But usually we know why we get them. Angie LoCicero‘s giggles were contagious, her eyes were full of tears, but we had no idea what was going on. We tried to behave ourselves. She tried to whisper in my ear. When I finally got the whole story, I laughed and cried, joyful and perplexed. As clear as day Angie said that Isaac sat next to her in the pew and said “Pray for Flint”, in a fast funny familiar Isaac way. When we got back to our house, after church, we told the story and laughed for days. Our friends, Brad Knight & Shawn Knight were up from Troy for one of many weekends over this past year to be with us through it all. They had to leave soon after church. The roads were shitty, so we told them to keep in touch. A bit earlier than expected, we received texts from them, photos of grafitti on overpasses, bridges, and buildings that said “Pray for Flint”. I cannot find those pictures now, but they are somewhere, on some device or harddrive. We had the strongest sense, that day, and for a few days after, that Isaac had redistributed his enormous spirit into Flint, and we giggled a little, because if you knew Isaac, you knew he was fascinated by the unknowns of his origins (his father was adopted) and he believed himself to be, in his soul, african american. So we all collectively thought, of course, Isaac would go to find his people and serve in some way, hence the urgency of Pray For Flint. It was more than a funny little messin with Angie LoCicero kinda message from beyond. None of us knew why or how or what. This mama felt a magnetic pull, for a short time, to drive to Flint and just see where it led me. I know that sounds a little crazy, which is why I never did it. Over time, I forgot, unless one of us would say it, the way Angie said it that first day, the way we would come to say it.
And then, sometime over the summer, I vaguely recall seeing a picture of really gross water coming out of a fire hydrant in Flint, of posting the photo and the accompanying article, and there was just the slightest nod toward the sky, toward heaven, to Isaac, a passing thing, what has become second nature when I feel a gesture from him pass to me, like a bird or a peek a boo moon rise, or a feather on a trail.
But then, this happened. This atrocity. And I knew–as each of us has come to know–what we knew but could not articulate– what is still somehow wordless knowing— that our loved ones are close and send us messages that are like puzzle pieces, and we dont have all the pieces all at once. And the story is bigger than I can give its proper due. But I cannot help but hear the lyrics from Shine On right along side Pray for Flint, and the layers of how that song reaches across the energy lines, never stops touching my soul, it took on a life of its own and there were moments I felt like it was too much and i wanted to keep it small, just like I always try to play small, but Damn, if it doesn’t feel like a call to action, because I would still do anything for my boy, and he is showing me, everyday, more and more than I ever could have taken the time to see when he was the center of my universe, that there is work to be done, so we have GOT to shine on. I dont know what that looks like– where to start— what I have to offer– i dont know, i only know that it feels like I have been summoned, and I am very humbly trying to heed the call, in the midst of my own chaos. And I know I am not alone. So if anyone knows what the eff to do, please, tell us. I CAN begin to imagine the pain these parents are in. So I will continue to PRAY FOR FLINT… flint

Published by: christinaryanstoltz

I write to touch the supple center of unguarded ache~ To release myself from the pressure of not knowing how to move forward from the unfathomable loss of my beloved son, my beautiful boy Isaac, to suicide, of not knowing how to release my grip on of the past, both the worshipping of it as well as the beating myself up for it, and letting go of the need to know what I could’ve done or what on earth I will do now. I write to heal.


2 thoughts on “Pray For Flint”

  1. I can only think of two responses: ‘Wow’ and ‘of course’. What a effen cool way to let us know that he still is and always will be and now even closer than ever cuz he’s a part of us. Love that boy. The gift that keeps on giving.


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