I have found myself wondering repeatedly this year:
how many times can your heart be broken before it becomes irreparable?
I am so angry that I don’t know what to do with myself.
A therapist once told me that I let my anger turn to sadness too quickly, so I try to stay angry……but it is burning me up inside.
I am in a state of profound grief.
There has been a significant death - or deaths - for me over the last year.
The police killings, the election, the pussy-grabbing, the turning inward and shift to blatant racism, homophobia, sexism, and xenophobia….
They were always there, but the cancer has gone too far. It became terminal for me.
My mind paces. I have difficulty maintaining focus. I cry at headlines.
There’s an immense feeling of sadness and loss.
I feel so overwhelmed.
That the evil that is in the world is bigger and more pervasive than I previously thought.
Naïve is not a word I would usually use to describe myself, and, yet, maybe I was.
Then I see the protests from afar and I remember,
“No, there are still good people in this world. My people care about others. We are the resistance.”
I feel it in my body.
I have been in pain since September.
First my upper back, then my knee, then my lower back…so it’s inconsistent in place, but consistent in presence.
I thought they were discrete, solitary ailments, but they’re not.
Reminding me that things are not as they should be.
I teeter on the edge of despair.
I feel so powerless, and feeling powerless is the WORST for me.
The US ceased to be home years ago.
I am an immigrant in the land of Brexit, observing the destruction of my homes from near and far.
Whatever pride I had managed to patch together regarding whatever was progress made has been blown apart.
I am a stranger in a strange land anywhere I go.
It’s harder to resist from a distance, here on my own.
And so I tweet and post and hope and donate and know that it’s not enough.
My life here in sleepy Dorset feels so removed. Like another planet.
But dig a bit deeper and there are similar issues, though seemingly less alarming in this little middle-class, white haven where I live and work.
My awareness of history and the struggles for equality and justice over time makes it very difficult for me to see a way out of this.
It’s going to take decades.
And how many will die as a result?
And yet I am so aware of how much there is to do.
So I note the little things and where I can do something:
I am waging my own personal revolution against student loan debt.
I am actively highlighting and signal boosting voices who have something to say when I am unable to come up with words myself.
I do my best to share my learning with those who wish to hear.
I do my best to learn from others, to hear and bear witness to their stories and pain.
I am donating to independent journalism and initiatives where I can.
I am taking opportunities to lead workshops and groups here in the UK, helping others to think about hospitality and welcoming the stranger in more meaningful ways in these times.
I am striving to be my best self in the midst of this destruction all around me.
It’s all I’ve got right now.
And it doesn’t feel like it’s enough.
And I wait for my heart to be broken again tomorrow.
I have written on the provision of protective hospitality and sanctuary in my book Safeguarding the Stranger (available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk). I am also available for training, speaking, and workshops should you or your community wish to explore the issue further.
If you'd like to make it possible for me to reach out and connect with more communities, you can support my work for as little as $1 per month or whatever you can afford. Support me by going to https://www.patreon.com/JaymeRReaves.