Today our president, speaking at the funeral for the five Dallas police officers shot last week, said all the words that I’ve been holding in my heart. He had the courage to say all the things that needed to be said, to address the unbelievably immense challenges inherent in our culture. I’m thankful beyond words that he has been our leader for the past eight years, and I will mourn the day he leaves office.
As I listened to the live broadcast of his speech in my office, tears streaming, I couldn’t help but ask myself this question:
What am I doing to make a difference in this world where so many are still left behind, where so many are indifferent? How can change ever happen if we don’t all, in the places where we find ourselves, do whatever is in our power to do?
I happen to work for a church. Over the summer I spend a great deal of time preparing for the coming year in ministry to children and families. This year I’m also working hard to expand my sphere of influence to include the adults in our congregation. This is the place where I find myself, and this is where I can work to effect change.
I’ve arranged my schedule this summer so that I have plenty of time to write lesson plans. I’ve been spending the last week creating lessons that specifically address the topic of welcoming, including, and affirming those who look or seem in any way different from ourselves. The work I do has the potential to make an impact on many children, and by extension, their families. I’m putting all I’ve got into that effort.
I’m part of a team that’s working through a process to make our congregation intentionally welcoming and affirming of LGBTQ people. It’s been a dream of mine for years, and it’s finally happening.
I’m part of a collaboration of five area congregations who are working to raise the level of leadership in our community, with a goal of making progress on large, daunting challenges we all care about. It’s my expectation that when this group meets again next week we’ll be taking a hard look at how we can harness those efforts toward the monumental issue of race relations and white privilege, here in this extremely white and extremely privileged suburb.
I’ve spent a significant portion of my mental energy over the years wishing I could make a difference somewhere in the world.
Now is the time.