©The Rev. Eileen Gebbie
Recently, within an hour of each other, I received two text messages:
Roof repair + scotus + immigration madness = I just want to cry
The tent camp situation is making me physically ill. 108 degrees in Arizona. What in the name of God can we do? What do we do??
Then I was sent a link to this tweet by comedian Solomon Georgio:
White Americans that are horrified by today’s SCOTUS news. This is a real good time to wield your privilege for the greater good. If my gay black immigrant ass ain’t giving up hope, that means you need to buck the fuck up.
— Solomon Georgio (@solomongeorgio) June 27, 2018
We are living through a time of enormous every day and existential threats. For some of us, this is new. For others, it has been their reality for generations.
I offer this list of practices for maintaining emotional, physical, and spiritual resilience, particularly for those of us who, due to our race or education or employment or religion or nation of origin or sexuality or gender, have been shielded from having to do so before.
Pr. Eileen Gebbie
I do not suggest prayer as a technique to lure God into solving our problems. I suggest prayer because it grounds us in the source of all being, in the generative power of creation. Because it allows our souls to soar above the debris and damage to gain the vantage point of justice and grace.
Walk, Eat, and Sleep
Nothing is more important than your own good health. It’s the putting on of your oxygen mask so that you can live to help others do the same.
Turn off push notifications from your apps for at least two hours before you go to bed. Limit your daily reading and watching of news and commentaries. Reduced viewership and fewer clicks will tell those who make money off of headlines and talking heads that we have had enough and need something less blood-pressure-wrecking and more collaborative and nuanced. Plus, knowing everything does not equate to solving everything.
Call Congress Daily
Whether all of our elected representatives function this way or not, they do all work for us, they are all beholden to our votes. So whether it is to offer a cheer or a jeer, call.
The hatred, isolationism, and dehumanizing policies of this day are not new. They have been part of the fabric of our nation from the start, they are why our soil still stinks of blood. So learn how people most effected by that unholy trinity—people of color, immigrants, religious minorities, people who are queer, the working poor—have not only survived but found ways to thrive.
I recommend reading Cherríe Moraga, Gloria Anzaldúa, Dr. King, Rita Nakashima Brock, James Cone, Mary Daly, Abraham Joshua Heschel, Kiese Laymon, Charles M. Blow, JoAnne Marie Terrell, Delores S. Williams, Alice Walker, Howard Thurman, Miguel de la Torre, Kowk Pui Lan, and the Crunk Feminist Collective.
I also recommend listening to The Nod, Uncivil, Code Switch, Rants and Randomness with Luvvie Ajayi, Ear Hustle, Podcast for a Just World, Reveal, the second season of In the Dark, the Start Up series about Arlan Hamilton, and this episode of Ghost Stories, “Telling our Stories to Ourselves with Tayari Jones.”
Our church is part of a powerful alliance for on-the-ground justice, AMOS. Through AMOS we have increased the availability of affordable health care and housing, passed a substantial mental health bill (and are now going after funding for it), and gotten the city of Des Moines to commit to our priorities for spending should a Local Option Sales Tax pass. We are also working on the immigrant safety net and how to support the struggles of people with mental illness through stable housing. This work is not glamorous and it is not fast. It is not as sexy as a rally or emotionally thrilling. But it works and it saves lives. Get involved with our core team, one of the issue teams, and come to every action we host, be it around important research or in engaging candidates. Our democracy only works as well as we do.
If nothing else, that hour on Sunday morning is an hour among people who continue to heed the call to care for the widow, the orphan, and the stranger, who continue to commit to covenant living and never doing unto others what we would not have them do to us. And you never know what wonderful and hilarious thing the kids might say next, though we always know it is true and it is love. Isolation is toxic; our worship space is healing.