Thursday, December 14, 2017

Thoughtful Thursday: A time to mourn and a time to rejoice

Five years ago today, I was sitting in Starbucks with my kids, sipping sweet drinks.
It was my birthday.
I had completed two out of six chemotherapy treatments. (Kanswer sucks!)
We were rejoicing and celebrating a glorious mid-December day.

As we sat talking there in Starbucks, my phone rang.
It was my best buddy calling.
She lives in Sandy Hook, CT.
I figured it was a birthday greeting.
I was wrong. Dead wrong.
She asked me to be praying because there had been a school shooting in her town.

So now, every year, on my birthday, I celebrate.
I am grateful to be alive, especially after going through kanswer.
But I also remember - there are many hundreds, thousands, of people
for whom today, December 14th, will always be a day of remembrance,
of mourning, of missing their beloved ones.

It is my hope and prayer that, in the midst of their tears, they are able to rejoice.
To give thanks for the time they did have with their loved ones.
And it is my hope and prayer that, because of their tears,
they and we will work harder to bring an end to the senseless gun violence
in this gun-crazed nation.

There is so much to mourn these days.
Sexual misconduct on all sides.
Coming within a hairs-breadth of electing an alleged (known) pedophile to the US Senate.
The loss of net neutrality.
A tax plan that will truly make the richest among us even richer
and provide precious little relief for anyone else.
People, far too many people, still sleep on the street or in abandoned buildings or cars.
Jobs are still being lost.
Food is still a necessity that many do not have adequate access to.

But there is also reason to rejoice.
Black people showed up and stood up and voted to keep that pedophile out of the Senate.
Food pantries are open - and there is work to fight the injustice that keeps people poor.
There is indeed Room in the Inn - and there are people fighting to provide Housing First.
People are providing funds and presence in and on behalf of the lives of others whose voices are not often heard.
Others are using yoga and meditation, peace and joy as their methods of transforming the world around them and us.

Like everyone, I have moments of deep sadness, despair even.
I weep. Often.
I wonder, as my daughter mused aloud earlier today, "Do they even have hearts?"
I know they do have hearts.
I wonder what broke their hearts, what made their hearts so hard that they are unmoved by the suffering that new laws and policies, as well as the abolishment of old policies, inflict on so many.

But I know that a change is gonna come.
Change is coming.
Transformation is happening right now.
Even as I write.

I am a woman of subversive hope.
Unshakeable hope.
Undeniable hope.
And faith.
Faith in God.
Faith in so many that i know are doing the work.
Not just staying in their bubbles and safe places.
People who are quitting high paying, insulated, isolated jobs in order to work with and for folks whose lives will never be insulated or protected.
People who are working so that all children can receive an education that is worthy of the paper on which their diplomas will be printed.
People who insist that our criminal justice system can actually bring about justice, rather than injustice.

Tonight, my husband and I will eat, drink, and be merry with some good friends.
We will rejoice and celebrate.
But inside, I will raise a toast to and say a prayer for the families of Sandy Hook and Houston and Puerto Rico. I will remember the folks living around the leaking oil pipeline in the Dakotas, the slaves still being sold in Africa, and the hundreds of thousands of young American residents whose very presence in this nation may soon be deemed illegal.

Today - like every day - is a day to rejoice and a day to mourn.
May our tears and laughter mix and mingle on our cheeks and in our hearts.
May we rest and recover for a few hours, perhaps even a few days.
But then, it will be time to get back to work.
To feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned.
Proclaim freedom for captives and restore sight to the blind.

Ready? Get set...

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