I’ve been thinking a lot this past week.
I’ve thought about the students I see each Sunday at Sunday School and their fears and dreams. I’ve thought about the protests around the country and the pride I feel in their taking action when others chastise them for their youth and for acting like “sore losers.”
I’ve thought about my parents and how these election results affect them both so differently. I’ve thought about my Arab-American, Muslim siblings and their fears. I’ve thought about my conservative friends and their defenses and the misunderstandings I’ve had with them.
I’ve thought about the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart and whether or not they really are acceptable in God’s sight. I’ve thought about the words of our bishop on Sunday: “Never waste a crisis.” I’ve thought about my calling and how it pisses me off.
And as always, I’ve thought about stories.
Stories in the Bible of light not being overcome by darkness. Stories of exile and homecoming and the pains and traumas of each. Stories of praising God for mercy and crying out against God for not issuing justice. Stories of the Church at its greatest and the Church at its most divided.
I’ve thought about my other favorite stories.
Stories of Time Lords saving planets and losing companions. Stories of Slayers defeating the powers of darkness and struggling with the darkness within themselves. Stories of witches and wizards battling a seemingly endless battle against bigotry and oppression. Stories of superheroes being created and enemies being made.
And I’ve thought about the painful stories.
Stories of deliberate racist attacks and slurs. Stories of fear about tomorrow. Stories of frustration between generations. Stories of apathy.
These stories have given me resolve and fanned the flames of my own anger. They have helped me be merciful and turned my heart to stone. They have walked with me throughout the day when I try to walk away from them.
I have felt hopeful resolve, tremendous anger, and deep sorrow. Right now, I can only hold onto these stories, the painful and the joyful, and hope the very act of holding them will be enough for now.
So as I hold these stories, please know I am willing to hold yours. Know I am your friend and ally, and my heart and prayers are with you, wherever and whoever you are. Know we are stronger together, and our stories are our saving graces.
Let’s keep moving, but first, let’s start sharing.
What stories of pain and frustration do you have from last week? What stories of hope and transformation do you have from last week? If you are grieving, where are you in the process?