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Assistant Minister's Column

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     This summer has been very rough on a lot of people. Those who fear for their lives because they are black in Baton Rouge had another reminder that some of those sworn to keep them safe not only fail to do their jobs, but can actually perpetrate more violence on the black community. Police officers, who already have a very dangerous job, were reminded this summer just how dangerous their jobs can be.

     People who thought that their houses were safe (or thought that if they were hit by devastating weather, they would at least have a warning) found out that they can lose their cars and all of their possessions in just a few hours. 

    Many people are exhausted, worried, in trauma, grief stricken, running on fumes, and trying to make meaning out of their lives. People under stress are more likely to act out of anger, more likely to lash out, more likely to let their prejudices and stereotypes seep out. So when we interact with each other, and when you interact with yourself, please be kind. 

    I imagine all of us are trying to make meaning out of this summer. Many are trying to figure out why we still get a little fidgety when it rains. I still worry when I see a police car or helicopter zip past the church’s windows. Whatever spiritual practices you have that help you make meaning or help you be at peace with the divine, please do them. 

    Also, please write. Don’t write for publication. Take a sheet of paper and maybe a pen or a crayon. Lie on the floor, or go somewhere that you don’t associate with work, and just write. Write down everything you remember about this summer. Try writing a chronology, or try writing a letter to someone you care about, describing this summer, or write a fake letter to a lawyer threatening suit against whatever cruel god(s?), or demons, or muses laid this summer at our feet. Writing might help you make sense of this summer. It will help you put things into some sort of order. It will help you craft your story. Many people I’ve talked to described this summer as a fog. Making yourself write down exactly what happened might help you find some clarity. 

    I wish for all the members of our church, and our region, spiritual wellbeing. I wish for you comfort, and kindness. I wish for you an end to injustice and tragedy. I wish for you some cool, dry evenings. I wish for you safety. I wish for you a renewed sense of hope in humanity, in family, in our state, and in God – or whatever concept of divine ultimacy finds resonance in your heart. 

     Please be safe. Please be kind. Please be loving.