Next week, I start a seventeen week sabbatical, where I get to take some time to study and rest, with the support of the Lilly Foundation. This is an opportunity for deeper learning for me and I am so grateful.
Eight years ago, I started Chaplains on the Harbor. So much has happened since I first started handing out sandwiches and building relationships with people.
I have witnessed and stood with people through so much hardship and pain. I have seen the scars and suffering of so many people struggling to survive late capitalism. I will never forget the bruised and battered bodies, the hunger, the grief. We have lost so many people to violence, to addiction, to lack of medical care, to the prison system. I have seen so many children on the street and sat with so many moms who have lost their children to the state when they cannot care for them. The suffering of this place is real.
I have also seen so much resilience and love. I have been honored to walk with people as they recover and find new ways of living. I have watched people rebuild their lives out of nothing. We have built leadership together, as we learn together how to fight for the liberation of us all. We have stood together at the river, at the state house, at the National Capitol, demanding justice. We have also learned to take care of each other and stand with each other.
People in this community either love me or they hate me. I’ve had my share of threats and I get a lot of mud slinging and hate from community members who refuse to actually meet me or talk to me. Sometimes the level of hate, not just toward me, but toward homeless people or anyone who stands with them, is exhausting and soul crushing. But a friend always reminds me that love always conquers hate. If I pray anything for this community, it is that our community learns to prioritize human life over possessions, learns to love and care for each other, because only then can we truly heal and be free. I think that most people simply want a good life for themselves and those they love; something we will never have until we love and care for every single one of us.
As I step away for a time, I hold all of you in love and prayer. I look forward to learning more about nature and earth based spiritualities and how they can help us heal from trauma. I look forward to having some time to process the last eight years. I plan to update this blog from time to time and will have someone post to Facebook so you can keep up with me if you like.
I will be back November 28. Between now and then, I will be completely away from phone, email, Facebook, Messenger, and Jpay.
Until then, may God hold you in the palm of her hand.