I must find time to write if my soul is to bear our world. This is most definitely aligned with all the things I hope for…
Today I had the chance to talk with a muslim mom of the opposing team of my son’s soccer game, to chit chat about the game and have a normal mom-to-mom conversation. Because that is what we are, normal moms with the same heart and love for our kids. Five muslim men turned from their place closer to the game and watched me. I knew in my gut that I did not need to fear them, but I worried they might not trust my intentions and my heart began to race. It is awkward being watched and makes you feel like you are in trouble or danger – a reality they likely face more often than I would wish. I chose to smile bigger, to be even kinder to the woman and she was just as kind to me, and they gave an affirming nod as they watched.
Earlier in the day I had the chance to tell some 6 and 7 year old girls that they are strong and brave and capable and good, and that they can do amazing things with their bodies and minds! My husband and I spoke words of encouragement that we pray takes root in their hearts beyond the soccer field into their whole long lives.
A young Christian man from our church came out this week and I have the privilege of being his friend and telling him that he is dearly loved just as God made him. This man is so solid in his faith and dedicated to honoring God with his life and has blessed my family with his ministry and his presence. He is a good person in this world.
On Veteran’s Day I saw a boy at the beach with his Veteran grandfather, playing by himself while watching the nine children I was with enjoying their group activity. I encouraged my children to invite him to join them and saw their humble human nervousness as they approached him. There was instant relief and joy shared between them when he said yes. His smile was beaming and he jumped right into the action without missing a beat.
Earlier in the week I was blessed to listen to my children describe their diverse friends by the content of their character and not by the color of their skin. This old lady self who is still learning and advocating hard for change, clarified by naming the skin color to get clear on the kid. I realized my own deep flaws and surged with love for the world my kids are living into.
On the night of the election I had a long talk with a friend who shared the story of having been raped. She confessed the intense fear, guilt and shame made her feel like a crazy person. I got to be a witness to her story, validate and normalize her intense emotional pain as a human response to trauma, and assure her she is not crazy. We each shared gratitude at how beautiful it is that God’s grace sees us as good and infinitely loved and we talked about some ways she could seek some professional healing and relief.
I cannot tell you about the confidential concerns of my clients, but I will tell you that they are hurting. Many are feeling re-traumatized that behavior and language we’ve fought hard to eradicate has been displayed, condoned and acted out with bravado across our country. There were way too many tears this week – wailing, hard, choking for a breath tears that come from the depths of one’s soul crying out for goodness.
This is just this week, and I confess I am tired, so physically worn down and exhausted. And I confess that I probably have had many many more opportunities for days like this that I have missed, because I was complacent, didn’t feel the urgency that day, was too tired to respond, or was not reminded of my own traumas and discriminations that have ravaged my heart and called me to action. It is time to act. The time is now. The morals, values, human decency and goodness of our world depends on us to make brave, risky, wonderful and good steps toward making this a better world.
In all the stages of deep grief I have felt in the last week, from utter shock, bargaining hard that there must be another way, heartsick tears, and raging pissed, I have felt an undercurrent of urgency to work harder for the good, and seeing that God is so evidently in this too. The people and circumstances in my path this week are a mere glimpse of what God is doing every moment of every day to call us to act on behalf of his great love for the world, and we are so lucky to be part of the love story. This goes beyond party lines and who voted for whom. Our fate has been decided on that front, but our future must be shaped by each and every one of us, in our common, every-day, extraordinary lives, to do the right thing in the moments we are given, and the moments we seek after, because we are so privileged to live in a free country that allows us to do great things with our lives.
Let us not give up encouraging one another, share your stories where God and goodness, mercy, justice and grace show up and we get to witness it. Strength and peace!