The largeness inside me
Growing up, one of my "best friends" told me that my passion for social justice and issues of inequality did not align with Christian beliefs, that I was too sensitive and open minded (and "that was not a compliment"). Her certitude about who was in and out with my understanding of Jesus left me feeling lost and alone. It took me years to find my voice and my way back.
But as our country seems increasingly more brittle and divisive, I can't help but think that finding common ground and making positive change on almost every major issue would be possible, if we stopped digging our heels in and yelling past each other. If we took a step back and started instead from a place of compassion and curiosity -- listening and learning from those who are marginalized, struggling, and in pain.
Whether we are talking about issues like racial injustice, abortion, poverty, or economic inequality, they are complex and multi-faceted. We are in the midst of a long-awaited awakening in our country, and on the precipice of major changes. As much as I would love for it to be so, we won’t reach consensus or solve our disagreements with a social media post or a silver bullet. Instead, it is through the slow and painful work of self-examination that we discover the walls of division, judgement, and self-righteousness that we build around us.
It is only then that we begin to challenge the status quo and our firmly held beliefs, making space for paradox, empathy, and true connection. That is the only place from which meaningful solutions can be born: solutions that address the underlying and often invisible barriers that people face -- things like trauma, racism, and mental health challenges, and sees the full humanity in each one of us. For the life of me, I will never understand why that is seen as naive or "liberal" and not just simply Christ-like.
It took me far too long to let go of the unhealthy relationships in my life and start trusting my instincts, beliefs, and passion. Maybe the very thing I had been told was my weakness was actually my greatest strength -- and even more so -- a gift from God.
"Lord our God, hear my prayer, the prayer of my heart. Bless the largeness inside me, no matter how I fear it. Bless my reed pens and my inks. Bless the words I write. May they be beautiful in your sight. May they be visible to eyes not yet born. When I am dust, sing these words over my bones: she was a voice."
~ Sue Monk Kidd from The Book of Longings