I started this message and prayer several times. I mean. several. times.
I write for a living, so when I can't find words, it is frustrating and confusing. Each time I started, I kept coming back to a Facebook post from a college friend. Linda and I were close for years. Although she made a significant impact on my life, like many friendships, we just haven't managed to keep in touch. We've kept distant tabs on each other though social media, but for whatever Facebook algorithmic reason, her posts haven't appeared on my timeline as frequently in recent months. So I find it to be divine intervention when Linda's post appeared Friday. I read it at least 3 times.
Each time I started this Weekly Prayer, I kept going back to it. Days later (and several attempts at writing this) I found myself reading the post again. It not only speaks so eloquently about this moment in time, our collective pain, our confusion, our hurt, but somehow speaks seamlessly about our Hope Street community. Linda doesn't know Hope Street (yet)...but somehow her words fit into our Greenhouse for People so well. (I added the bold texts), because it's what stood out for me.
"I will participate in Rockford's rally of solidarity with the protesters of Minneapolis Saturday. I will not judge how people express their pain. If the expressions of some result in a need for extensive cleanup later, then I'll participate in that too. Rockford is my city, and, like any city, she has deep wounds that need healing. Healing is messy. And this wound, while most acutely felt and experienced by our Black and Brown brothers and sisters, is a collective wound. What injures one of us harms all of us, whether we choose to see that or not. We're all connected, at the very core of our being. So the messy act of healing requires our collective attention, our acknowledgement, our compassion, our release, and our unrelenting love. For those who are confused by painful expressions that turn explosive, I would ask that you simply open your hearts and hold loving space for anyone whose pain is just too much for them to bear. And if that feels too hard to do, ask God to do it for you. But do ask. Let your intention for healing be counted. This pain is truly too much for anyone to bear. So, let us not judge the expression of pain, but let us be judged by our response to it. It is our response that will determine our trajectory, our destiny, and our legacy. Let it be unrelenting Love.
Lord, help us heal deep wounds, help us through the mess. I pray that we all remember that we ARE connected and that what injures one, harms us all. I ask Lord, that you give us grace when grace feels impossible and that our heart remains open even through this hurt. Thanks you Lord for Linda's words of unrelenting love.
Hope Street Vice Chair