Hurt weighs us down. Hurt weighs me down.
We seek to lift our brow, but our heads feel so heavy, and our neck is strained.
Hurt pulls our shoulders down and inward. We hold this pain like a sick child against our chest and stomach. We long to see the child liberated and laughing, free and without care. But the weight is so heavy, it’s such a burden. This burden forms in our souls from the world- not our feelings, but the sheer violence of world systems and suffering. The groaning of the creation, homelessness, racism, classism, structural white supremacy, prison reform, the death penalty, unfair labor practices, natural disasters, economic inequality, war, genocide, drought, real Christian persecution, islamophobia, nationalism, sexism, and the assaults on my lgbt brothers and sisters and the daily hate spread by those who want fear to shackle us.
And the child of hurt held near my lap infects my whole body with arthritis from cradling her.
It’s been a rough couple of years. I am not a martyr or looking for sympathy. Yet I feel justified as having went through many personal fires, and witnessing the “burning of the world.” I have lost the ability to have children, my irreverent and joyful brother to suicide, my Psalmist father, and my Sunday school teaching grandmother as well as the stressors of working in a very trauma-filled and often times healing profession at one of Atlanta’s largest homeless service agencies.
It’s like that burden, that child, wants to hold on- maybe, I was afraid of community. Or being too vulnerable. Or being seen as weak.
When I entered the plane from Atlanta, I just held my breath for a minute and prayed to God for some deep healing. I felt so broken, wounded, and hurt. I needed a respite and to be renewed. I need to get away from the craziness of life, and listen to how others are making their world better.
And I have felt a need for tears
But I have been so busy
and I often have to carry everyone else
That’s not to say I don’t have Joy. It’s not to say that I haven’t been loved by a community or surrounded by my family and friends. It’s really to say that my inner-critic #1 on the enneagram-perfectionist- judge of-self told me I had to stay strong, be productive, and remain busy.
As if that’s some way to exist. NO SABBATH FOR THE BECKSTER. Because I impose a higher standard on self.
When you care for justice in one area, you begin to see the injustices in every area, And your heart can be burdened. The many ills and evils perpetuated by human beings on one another have weighed on my heart. I am a very sensitive person to injustice. It makes me angry, and sad. In this way, I identify closely with the Biblical prophets. I cry sometimes to God. As if I was meant to hold this burden and this grief. But it’s not mine to carry. Jesus carried it, and so does the community of today.
For my healing is bound up in your healing.
And my liberation is bound up in your liberation.
And as I sat with contemplatives, mystics, activists, advocates, pastors, practitioners, saints and seminarians, I found some healing and liberation. The weekend chipped away at my need to be strong, I just breathed deeply and decided to be the Bec that is “unstable” to some, and to others- very Intune with the spirit of God.
All of the sessions moved me deeply and inspired me. We held an intense talk on race where tears streamed down my face, as I listened to my friends who have more melanin than I, describe the system of white supremacy at work in our country. My tears were not white guilt or about my feelings, but seemed to be a spirit-led weeping for our nation’s sins. All I could see in my visual mind, was the blood on the land. Blood everywhere. Rivers of it. And I wanted to repent, or pray for forgiveness.
I wanted to tarry at the altar. I wanted to weep, and pray. I wanted to fall out prostrate and beg God to help us.
And the tears poured down my face all weekend.
Whilst learning from Anita Grace of Smiling Heart Yoga, I sat across from a seminarian named Mallory. We were invited after a time of stretching and yoga poses to take a few deep breathes and focus our gaze on each other’s eyes. Mallory’s strength became evident to me. My creative mind began to create large cosmic themes to represent Mallory. I saw her clothed in strength, standing firm. And my own eyes poured out tears.
And more tears.
And I wept with deep pain and the grief my body carried, and the burdens of my soul- the child of my hurt- seemed to lift and be healed. I felt as if Mallory could see into my pain and the cloudy grief that I have tried to bury underneath distractions of busyness and trying to control everything. And catharsis came.
Perhaps it was some post conference glow, but Sunday I even attended a church of my heritage and did not go into hysterics when someone spoke wrongly about LGBT issues. I did not judge them. I had compassion on this person. I felt at perfect peace. No offense, no rejection. Just Jesus.
I can’t say that Monday night or Tuesday was even that great in Atlanta when I got back home.
But I can say that I have learned some practices, and have started being more gentler with myself.
I believe we are Transformed in community.
For my liberation is bound up in your liberation.
So I will seek the Good of this land, Atlanta, and I will build community here. And I will let others love me as much as I seek to love others.