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I am reading the story of Elijah McClain’s brutal death by Colorado police in August 2019 for the first time this morning.

Feeling so heartbroken as I read about this sensitive, introverted, 23 year old human who was a massage therapist and played violin for shelter animals and was murdered for “appearing suspicious” because of (being black) wearing a ski mask and grooving to music on earbuds while walking home.

“He was the sweetest, purest person I have ever met,” another of his friends and former clients, Marna Arnett, added. “He was definitely a light in a whole lot of darkness.” Arnett believes that, in addition to helping manage a chronic chill that McClain attributed to his anemia, wearing a mask helped him manage his social anxiety. “He would hide behind that mask,” Arnett said. “It was protection for him, too. It made him more comfortable being in the outside world.” (excerpted from “What We Know About the Killing of Elijah McClain” by Claire Lampen, published in The Cut)

The Fool is the card of the day and sitting with the story of Elijah McClain’s murder, I reflect on how challenging what The Fool asks of us really is to do.

The Fool asks us to keep our hearts open. To stay willing. To keep experiencing. Not to put up walls. Not to give up on life and love.

How does one do this in the face of such pain? Such injustice? Initially, the naive fool goes forth open- heartedly because they don’t know any better, they’ve never been hurt. At the “end” of the fool’s journey their heart is open precisely because they have experienced pain, loss, grief and they understand that life is too short to wall off one’s heart. That love is the only answer. That to love, our hearts must break. Break open and open.

We cannot love without hurting. We cannot give up feeling or we will give up fighting for justice. We must struggle to keep our hearts open in spite of the pain.

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