After years of self reflection in the world of academia that earned me two master’s degrees and sitting in countless chairs at multiple therapists office, I understand why I feel comfortable in crisis.
My experiences of trauma have made me stronger in certain areas of my life, weaker in others– but one big take away is that I am not afraid when shit hits the fan.
I know this process intimately. Maybe you do, too.
When our twin cities were on fire, I watched the smoke rise up and I listened to the Black voices around me. I sat in silence and took it all in. “No writing. No poetry. Keep silent and listen,” the Spirit told me. And I felt an eerie calm during all the chaos. I sincerely questioned my sanity and wondered if I had removed myself too far.
But then I came to the conclusion that I know this storyline and it’s much needed in our world today: Destruction and deconstruction paves the way for rebuilding and reimagining.
I look out among the ashes and acknowledge that Black voices have been silenced for far too long. A new dawn is approaching. Take heed, says the Spirit.
I am learning to let go of things that worked for me.
Little things, like the band Hanson, when their band member’s racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobic got exposed to the public. I can’t walk backwards and pretend to unsee.
Bigger things, like the comfort I thought I had in the police system and the work I did to attempt to reconcile my mistrust of the police in my work as a chaplain. I am learning what rebuilding community policing and what expanding mental health care can look like.
Once our eyes are opened, there is no going back. The house is on fire and you can only grab a few things.
“If you are brave, you will take nothing at all.” (White Oleander)
We shed the people, places, ideas, and values that no longer bring communities together or exemplify God’s love in our human world for every human being.
There is no going back from here.
But I am not afraid, even on the days when I feel afraid. Maybe you are like me.
Maybe you have shed your former life like a snake skin–too old and too small to contain your transformation.
Maybe you have walked away from people and places who no longer fed your spirit or your heart.
You know rebirth. The labor pains, the deep contraction of muscles pushing out something new and wild.
Stay with it. Don’t look back.
Statues are being toppled over and thrown in the river. Black ballerinas are photographed in front of graffiti covered walls. The beauty is so stark, so raw.
There is no going back from here– and why would we want to?
My comfort as a white woman is not worth the silence of fellow souls.
Why was I so complacent before? These are things I will have to examine. These are things I will have to sit down in the therapists chair or the pastor’s couch and discuss and process.
And I will take heart from my Black, Indigenous, People of Colour friends who continue to lead the way.
I will follow them.
I will take nothing at all and I will not look back.
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