Perhaps you’re carrying some stuff, too? 

I’ve been trying to figure out what I wanted to write about this month, and it’s been difficult. I knew that I would be blogging for November since Stephanie and most of Cohort Bet would be in Israel when our monthly email came out. When I write, I try to pick a topic or something that I’m learning, or something that’s been revealed to me, that feels like it would be helpful to share. And lately, those things are difficult to put into words. Or, at least my own words. There’s this pressure to put things into nice neat boxes when it’s going “public” and my current thoughts, learnings and revelations are anything but nice and neat. They are a mix of pain, frustration, unknowns, and joy, expectation, and healing. They come from people and things. From prisons and homes. From churches and neighborhoods. 

Coming into the holiday season and carrying so many different emotions and thoughts has me wondering: How do I carry all of this stuff well, and what might God have for me in the midst of all of it? Perhaps you’re carrying some stuff, too? 

I’ve been listening to voices that help me put words to the mix of things rumbling around in my heart..trying to glean wisdom from those around me. I looked for people that were bringing light to places where darkness could flourish. Seeing the cracks of broken relationships, disappointments, and God doing things that I don’t understand means that I need to look for light to flood those spaces in order to keep carrying. I need people that carry pain and joy at the same time - people that are teaching with their lives. 

One of the voices that has been the most light giving to me is Kaitlin Curtice, who is an enrolled citizen of the Potawatomi Citizen Band Nation. She writes in a way that honors and holds the pain of the past while allowing light to come in and shine. With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I want to hold on to the joy found in family traditions of food, celebration, and love while also paying attention to the historical atrocities that Thanksgiving holds and the mourning that accompanies it. One of her prayers that have given me words to pray and hope to meditate on this past month is “At The End of a Long Week: a Friday Prayer”. She also wrote a “Litany for Mourning”, which contains these beautiful words:

We hope to be brave,

but we are tired.

We hope for freedom,

but there are so many in shackles.

So we breathe and remember:

Jesus wept.

We fight with weapons of

peace and humility.

We fight with the power

of listening.

We breathe and remember:

Jesus wept.

And when tomorrow comes,

and the day is new,

we cannot deny reality.

We live our own belovedness,

and the belovedness of others.

The other voices that are bringing me light are yours. Listening to your voices teaches me so much about God. The questions, the wrestling and the aha’s during a scripture circle remind me that I am not alone, and to remember that God always has something for me if I will just stop and listen. For Advent this year, I want to cling to and focus on hope. I want to practice waiting with expectation and hope in the posture of receiving whatever gifts God has for me. One of the first things that I will be doing to prepare for this practice is going to the thematic study on November 28. I know it might sound like I’m trying to promote something, but I can honestly say that these thematic studies are such a gift to me and to anyone who is able to join the circle. November’s theme is John 1 and the transition into the Advent season. I would love to have you join us and bring your voice to the circle.

Seasons of our lives that contain pain or hard things, unexpected or confusing changes, require us to find sources of light. Maybe you have something that does that, too? Maybe you have a poet that you love? Maybe you do something in December that brings you joy?  If you do, I’d love to hear about them.  You can drop me an email at Maybe we can be light to each other and help carry each other’s stuff.

With love and hope and hard stuff,