Come sit with me. I am grieving. 

Come sit with me. I am grieving. 

There has been so much hurt and loss over the past months, weeks, days, hours.

And I am still wearing black. 

I need to remind myself that I am still hurt. Still tender from all that was witnessed. I still need to weep and lament. 

I need to sit with my rage, to acknowledge the fear. I need to feel it in the depths of my spirit and remember that the Holy One is still present now in the darkness. 

I am not good at this, sitting by myself and holding all that I am feeling. So I am asking for company. I am asking you to pause with me as we lament. 

Together. 

I have not felt this way in a while. 

Not since my first love died. When that happened, I had no idea how to begin to process life without him. I had spent time dreaming of a future that now, suddenly, would never come. I could not imagine how I would ever feel like myself again, how I would mother again, be a friend again, and be a pastor. I could not imagine, even though I could reason with it on an intellectual level, I could not envision how God would create good out of so much pain and loss. 

The way I process pain and hurt has been taught to me since I was a child. But as a child, the culture that taught me did not always align with the culture I grew up in, a culture that taught that “the dream” only came from the grind. Work, moving quickly, and producing would be the only way forward. This is what we need to do in order to feel better to be better. 

My culture teaches me to sit. To examine. To cry out. To feel. And it is loud. I have been called “overly dramatic” by those who do not understand. But my ancestors have always invited me: Come and sit. 

When my first born was ten years old, we realized that she had not learned to ride a bicycle. We lived on 100 acres in the woods completely off-grid. There was nothing but trails and rocky paths to have adventures on.

It had not occurred to me that she would want to learn to ride a bicycle until she asked me. So we set to doing it out on the land, on the rocky paths. It went very similarly to how I learned to ride. With training wheels at first, then with either my husband or I holding on to the back of her seat running to keep up as she pedaled, finally letting go and watching her giggle as she felt the breeze on her cheeks and the triumph in mastering the two-wheeler.

And then it happened, all in a flash: she had fallen. Hard. She had hit a rock on the road and crashed, skinning both her knees, and she was howling. 

I picked her up and took her inside. I gently removed the pebbles that were embedded in her skin. I cleaned up the wound and listened to her as she raged. She told me she “would NEVER ride a bike again. They were evil!”

I bandaged her up, kissed her boo boo, and said that she would ride again when she was healed and ready. I was calm when I said this and her brown eyes flashed at me with anger, disbelief, and self-conviction about how things would be.

Eventually, after a few days of watching her siblings ride and after some healing, she got back on the bicycle and announced that she would try again. 

But you know what happens when you have badly skinned both your knees? Scabs. 

Her scabs were still developing. Nature’s bandage was still forming the protective layer that would allow for new skin to grow. 

By the time it would all be done, a new layer of skin would have been made. Eventually, the scab would fall off and reveal new skin underneath.  But if she hopped on a bike too quickly and tried to ride with full gusto, she would find that it hurt, it would pull at that new skin and would actually open the wound again. She needed to wait. To heal and to rest.

As a culture, we in the West, in the United States, immersed in White Culture, do not give ourselves time to sit with the fact that we have been hurt and really reflect on how we can heal. Instead, we rush to get back into the work we were doing that led us to being injured, pulling at the scabs, reopening wounds, finding ourselves working through the pain. 

How do we grow and nurture a community after so much loss?

I have been repeating this mantra in my mind the past few months. 

Our time has been colonized. Our healing has been colonized.

God waits, the Son taught me to wander, Spirit has taught me to rest until I am called on to act. 

There is a particular pace that I have witnessed over the years when one experiences racism and trauma. It is an urgent pace. Reactive. I recognize this has come out of our desire to create change. Or perhaps our unwillingness, or discomfort with sitting with our pain. 

But there are times when we need to sit and lament the hurt. 

I’m wondering if the incidents of the last months, weeks, days, and hours within our beloved church are not in some way the Spirit inviting us to pause, to slow down, and to reflect before acting, before responding on public, social platforms, before continuing to cause pain to those that are hurting. 

It is not a call to stop all action altogether, but a call to ease up on the pedaling and disembark the bike to assess the damages before continuing on. 

I can speak only for myself and say that I can no longer work at the pace of urgency. I will not. After the trauma I have experienced, I cannot be expected to “bounce back” on anybody else’s timeline but my own. 

I love and respect my colleagues. I love and respect those in our congregations that seek change and I recognize that we are all different. Because of that, I want to be as clear and transparent with where I am at in this process. 

I am still hurt and I am still raw. My scabs have not fallen off and the skin underneath is still forming. It is painful to watch someone you had high hopes for, come under discipline. It is hard to watch a faith community that has been treated unjustly and traumatized still wait to be included in the larger community. They have not been given the love and respect they deserve.  It is hard to watch another community that had longed for acceptance and change be given a moment of hope only to have it end in sorrow. 

There is fear that things will never change and there is deep heartbreak. 

And so, I sit. And I grieve.

It will be a long road for healing. 

I am an organizer, a pastor, and a mother. I recognize the urgency to push through and to act. I feel the desire to jump in to do the work. I am not saying we need to stop. But white supremacy encourages us to rush, it tells us that urgency outweighs the need to pause. White supremacy strips us of intentionality. 

It strips us of the ability to witness. 

I believe it will serve us and the greater community best if we slow down

What would that look like? 

What would it feel like to create space?

Space for lament, for howling in pain, for anger, for fear. 

What would it look like to seek the counsel of elders, those who are BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, the youth, and the disabled communities and ask them to share their wisdom?

How have their communities dealt with pain and loss?  

How have the generations of these individuals handled trauma? 

I have grieved before.

In some Latiné communities, when you become a widow it is traditional and expected that you wear the “luto”. It’s essentially an outward display of grief. A time to wear the black mourning clothes. Some wear it for a few days, some a year, and still others wear it longer.  It serves two purposes: it is a reminder to the person that they are grieving. It is a reminder to the community to be gentle with the one who is grieving. 

We have not even begun to think about putting on the luto. 

The actions of these past months, weeks, and days have created an immense amount of grief among the Latiné community, among the LGBTQIA+ community, among our youth, our elders, in all of us.  

The trail has been rocky and we have deep wounds to tend to. 

It is time to assess the damage, identify the hurt and to intentionally care for the trauma. 

My daughter eventually  rode again and was a badass. 

We centered her learning around staying safe on the trail

riding efficiently, and gaining overall balance on the bike.

After some time she was taking leisurely rides. 

Eventually she learned to ride fast, 

down complicated trails full of bumps,

fearless

We can do this together, as a community. 

Let’s not rush the healing. We need new skin to grow. 

Come and sit with me. I am grieving. 

6 thoughts on “Come sit with me. I am grieving. 

  1. I am sitting with you. Thank you for your words of wisdom. I and my congregation will be continue to pray for your healing on your time line.

    Like

  2. Sitting here on the East Coast. I hear you. I will sit with you and pray with you and for you. And thanks for being willing to be honest and share your pain. We can’t go forward without healing

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Brutiful, dear Hazel. My heart has been breaking for you and all those who have been harmed, especially by the events of the past 6+ months. I am sitting with you in this time of sorrow, of grief, of lament. I so wish it were different and I so hope that healing will come, someday, to you and all others who have been harmed. With love and hope,

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s