Will we blossom once again?
Healing could happen.
I'm writing from Carmel, Indiana as we are concluding our time with leadership of The Synod of Lincoln Trails, the Presbyterians of Illinois and Indiana. It has been such an encouraging moment of togetherness, while the rest of the country is celebrating or pointing fingers over the future of healthcare. Thursday, we spent time with brave pink-skinned people in a community center of Olney, Illinois, where our new friend, Beau Brown, serves as a Presbyterian pastor. From there, we met with a slightly more diverse group (some African and Asian Americans, some with Native heritage, some with biracial children and grandchildren) of Presbyterian leaders in Carmel, Indiana, just outside Indianapolis. Our friend Beau was then installed as the new moderator for the Synod of Lincoln Trails, and he is passionate about working towards moments of racial healing from his corner of Christianity.
We talked about the pain that exists, the feelings of animosity that are deeply held, when we've been hurt by someone from another race. While these are personal examples, like the black bully I had in middle school (who later apologized and meant it!), they matter. Of course, my pain on this level is relative to the pain that my friends of color experience, because I only have a handful of personal pain stories. Marvin has luggage, as he calls it, involving both personal stories of being intentionally hurt, alongside the everyday ache that systemic racism causes.
And it wasn't a time of presenting solutions. But a time to hold in each other's pain. These steps matter, and are often overlooked to jumpstart towards solutions.
Trust is needed. And trust takes time, repeated positive experiences, to build. Then, and only then, when we know we have each other's backs, or more pointedly, when people of color know that white people aren't going to cut and run when the going gets tough, only then can we start to dream up anything close to solutions.
Thank you brave souls of Olney and Lincoln Trails. You have encouraged us and we hope to set more tables with you and your communities soon.
Peace by peace,