This past year has been one of instability – everything around me seems different, and a lot of the stuff inside me is different as well. Although change is energizing for some, for me it is incredibly draining. Necessary, but exhausting nonetheless. Young adulthood is a constant cycle of upheaval; jobs, relationships, friendships, geography. As soon as you adapt to one rhythm of life, it is interrupted. On top of all this, there’s been some painful but necessary reworking of my faith, my view of God, race, religion, and human nature. You know, just some minor things.
Within the reworking, I’ve begun to embrace the truth that I don’t know it all and neither do you. We know a lot less than we think, and unfortunately, the same goes for your mother or your father or your pastor. We know our own experiences, and the experiences of those around us, but only as much as we are able to absorb in the time that we are actually listening. There is a lot that we don’t hear because we don’t think to ask, or we do but are too quick to argue or offer solutions. This is all too true of me, and I’ve realized there are a lot of realities that I am tempted to deny or cover with pat answers: Racism is a thing of the present, and it hurts people. Trauma is a horrible thing, and it happens to people, and it changes the choices they make in ways that I may not agree with or understand because I haven’t lived it. This does not make me right. Religion has an answer for most everything, but just because it is true doesn’t mean it is helpful.
This is not negativity, this is reality. And reality is often unpleasant. With all of this, I’ve been in desperate need of something, anything, to anchor me. Not just to faith, but to sanity.
The anchor for me has been this: Every human being is a miracle. That’s kind of a given, all you have to do to believe that is hold a newborn baby. What’s more astonishing to me is for all the awful ways human beings hurt each other, in the personal and the cosmic sense, we somehow retain our capacity to love one another. To be human is to hurt each other, and to be human is to heal from hurt. The greater the hurt, the more miraculous the healing process. Let’s be clear, I’ve not been hurt that often or that badly; yet when I am, my instinct is to retaliate rather than forgive, to distrust everyone rather than risk hurt again. And somehow, there are people who have suffered abuse, abandonment, atrocities of war and they are able to forgive. It is nothing short of miraculous. I’m not sure of much, but I am sure it is God who makes love and forgiveness possible in such a mad world. It is evidence of the divine in us.
I tried to encapsulate these reflections in an art project…
… but e.e.cummings said it a lot better than me with my creative capacity of a 10-year-old.
Miracles are to come. With you I leave a remembrance of miracles: they are somebody who can love and who shall be continually reborn
This fall, I’m starting down a new professional path because for some reason I want to walk closely beside people who are dealing with extreme challenges and deep hurt. I’m starting to wonder why I thought it was a good idea. Knowing me, and knowing the field of social work, a lot of tears, anxiety and sleepless nights are in my future. I’ve begun to ask myself, why the hell are you choosing this? Because I do believe miracles are to come. If I’m lucky, I will witness one.