Ohio River next to Lafayette 2Each time I stand here — beside the Lafayette Hotel — and gaze at the Ohio River, I can’t help but imagine swimmers or boats coming across to escape slavery.

I try to imagine myself swimming across the angry current after a series of rainy days. I don’t think I’d make it now or when I was younger. How many tried and drowned, I wonder? So much sorrow associated with slavery, and it still hurts our society today.

I like to believe I would have lent a hand in the Underground Railroad. Did you know that in the area there are no less than seven Underground Railroad sites?

Just the other day I took these photos of the River. Not too far away is the place where the Muskingum River intersects the Ohio River. On quiet, sunny days in the spring, you can hear the sounds of traffic rattling across the brick roads, accompanied by the many songs of birds. In 2004, both rivers swelled and caused sudden and unexpected flooding on a sunny day, several days after the rain.

Ohio River next to Lafayette

This year we’re fortunate, but we watch and pray with our fellow citizens in Texas and Oklahoma who are experiencing flooding.

Storms come and cause havoc, and then the sun shines on the mess as though it is mocking us.

Slavery is a storm as old as humanity, and when a day like today comes, we realize that the sun has deceived us into thinking the storm’s damage is over. Racism and prejudice are alive and sick.

Don’t let the sunshine fool you. Enjoy it. Enjoy the sounds of birds and tires across beautiful brick roads, beautifully landscaped. But think about reality. The truth is something we don’t always know, even when we think we do.

Let’s be part of the healing and be careful with our words. Smile today and send a shockwave of joy through our world. Don’t forget that we all need to be encouraged even when the sun is shining.