Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Way Forward...

My heart is breaking over here.

Flooding in Texas and mudslides in Sierra Leone.
Homes, livelihoods, and lives ruined, lost, destroyed.

Missile launches from North Korea.
Retaliation threatened.

Racism and white supremacy surging.
Violence threatened and actualized.

Ineffective, disinterested leadership - in the community, in the city, in the state, in the nation, in the world.
Distrust on all sides.

Stage 4 kanswer.
For the first time.
For the second time.

I'm reading a book called Evicted. About Milwaukee.
Living on the edge of eviction. Landlords. Tenants.
Trailer parks. Condemned living spaces.
Churches that don't help, can't help, won't help.
Local government that sides with the landlords, not the tenants.
Is decent housing a human right or isn't it?

Last weekend, I went to visit someone in prison.
On Friday, his mother and I drive almost five hours east from Charlotte.
We spent the night in a hotel.
Got up early and drove another half hour to the prison.
We sat with him for four hours in the visitation room, talking, laughing, telling stories,
and then we left and drove back home.
Long two days.
Even longer for him - he's serving a 20 year sentence.
Upon his release, he is likely to be immediately deported back to a country he hasn't seen in
nearly thirty years.

I'm not gonna lie - I'm struggling with all of this.
Emotionally, I'm feeling more than a little overwhelmed these days.
How long, Lord, how long? How much pain and suffering and sickness can we endure?
How much injustice and discrimination can we inflict on one another?

But life is not all doom and gloom around here. Thanks be to God!

I spent most of yesterday with a dear friend with her two year old son. He's a delightful child.
Together, we spent most of yesterday at the home of another dear friend, a mutual friend, eating, talking, laughing, telling stories, in her boat, out on Lake Norman. She has a new dog, all energy, all love, all joyful activity. It had been far too long since we had been together, the three of us, and that sweet little boy.
I drove home from the lake yesterday, listening to Rob Bell's podcast about the lie of redemptive violence. (Please start with this podcast - the first one in the series on "the thing in the air.")
Rob Bell inspires me to think differently about my faith and my life and this world in which we find ourselves.

Tomorrow some friends and I will spend two hours hanging out with some young women who are pregnant and living in a supportive community while they seek work and housing for themselves and their unborn children. We will give them manicures and listen to their stories and tell some of our own. We will leave them with diapers and sheet sets and our best wishes for good health and happy babies.

I spent a couple of hours at the seminary today.
Reading. Journaling. Staring out the window.
Thinking, praying, wondering about my future, the future of my church, the future of our nation.
I found almost all the books I need for one of my classes this semester in the seminary library.
I came home and got my study space organized for the fall.
New spiral notebooks. Textbooks. Dictionaries. Folders. Pens.
Back to school I go.
It is, indeed, the most wonderful time of the year.

My son is back in college - for his junior year.
My daughter is gainfully employed.
As is my husband.
I'm reading a lot, doing a lot of yoga, journaling, taking Patti Digh's 137 Days class online.

The fridge is full. So is the pantry. (I am enormously grateful.)
And so is my heart.
Full of sadness and sorrow for the vast suffering in the world.
Full of hope and anticipation for all that is happening to combat the suffering.

The way forward is with a broken heart, as my dearly beloved Alice Walker once wrote.
The way forward is with a broken heart and also with a hope-filled heart.
The way forward is with tears flowing and also with joy unspeakable.
The way forward is with friends close at hand and also in solitary places.
The way forward is with music and also in silence.

The way forward is not going to be easy or quick or simple.
The way forward is going to be painful and frightful.
The way forward will cost us time, energy, money, and so much sweat and tears.
But the way forward is just that - forward.

There's work to be done.
There's community to build.
There's love to be shared.
There's new life to be born.
There's good news to give and to live.
There is no going back.
There is no turning back.

As the now familiar chant goes -
Forward together, not one step back.
Forward together, not one step back.


Tricia said...

Knew coming here you would have words to soothe my soul after
watching too much television today.

So, so sorry to hear about the new health issues and trust God
will see you you through. Thank you for mentioning Patti's class.
Your blog is still my favorite of all time. Think I have been
following more than eight or nine years!

Tricia in Ohio

GailNHB said...

Tricia, so glad you find encouragement and support here. Thank you once again for your kind words.

I am not referring to myself with the kanswer thing. I am referring to friends of mine. But knowing that they are struggling has added to the sadness I have felt over these past few days.

Again I appreciate your presence here and the way in which you encourage me to keep writing. Peace be with you.