To every person who has shown up for protests, who has engaged in painful conversations: thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Jesus was a refugee when his parents had to flee Bethlehem; Jesus is the refugee babe in the ambulance too shocked to speak.
And to everyone who cannot protest: thank you, too.
I mean this with all humility and love: showing up matters, but showing up doesn’t always look like being physically at the protest.
There are infinite legitimate reasons why people cannot always march. PTSD. Anxiety. A shift you can’t miss for risk of losing the job. A shift you need to pay the rent. A paper to write in a class that is doing the slow and steady work of transforming your spirit to be ready for constant revolution. Schoolwork that needs doing because you’ve been so eaten up with anxiety it has sat untouched for so long. No babysitter. No money for a babysitter. Children who are too young to know this isn’t the time for a tantrum. Children who are sick. Parents who are sick. You are sick. Your body isn’t cooperating today. Your body is one that wears faster during long walks and standing outside. Your body is not welcome.
By the looks of things, we are going to be praying with our feet a lot these next four years. As my friend Jes Kast said: “This is not a sprint. Run the race with endurance.”
Taking time to be ready is not disengaging. Taking time to be present to joy is not uncaring. Taking time to rest is not a lack of resilience.
But as a person of faith, i still affirm the power of prayer. Contemplation needs action. And so prayer is absolutely protest. But it is also stillness, and furious dancing, and time apart, and presence.
Our hearts are being challenged and pushed to grow wider, which means there is more room for heartbreak, more people to love and hurt for. This is leaning into our calling to welcome the stranger and love our neighbor and walk humbly, love mercy, and do justice.
Giving yourself permission to seek peace is not the same thing as being at peace with the status quo.