For it’s our grief that gives us our gratitude,
Shows us how to find hope, if we ever lose it.
So ensure that this ache wasn’t endured in vain:
Do not ignore the pain.
Give it purpose. Use it.
You have heard that it was said, You must love your neighbor and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who harass you so that you will be acting as children of your Father who is in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both the evil and the good and sends rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous.
If you love only those who love you, what reward do you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers and sisters, what more are you doing? Don't even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore, just as your heavenly Father is complete in showing love to everyone, so also you must be complete.
As a Youth Worker, you learn to develop specific skills. You have to learn how to be flexible, create space for newcomers, and survive on only pizza. It also comes with responsibility, especially knowing that YOU must act first before others can join you. And though it can be awkward and worrisome, that first action is needed for things to move.
Small acts in uncomfortable spaces mean more than big acts in comfortable ones. You cannot measure the power behind people saying, “This is wrong,” when everyone else says otherwise, or the significance when someone stands up for others in front of and behind closed doors. Saying Black Lives Matter and Stop Asian Hate must be done in quietness and out loud. It also must be an action.
Someone once told me, “The opposite of injustice is NOT justice; it's love. For injustices occur when there's an absence of love.” And they were right. It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in, but it takes love to stand up for something that is right.
Merciful God, I am not perfect. Often, I am afraid and unsure of what to do. Yet you love me still. Grant me strength and courage to offer others the same. Amen.
Take the first step toward justice.
Take a step toward reconciliation.
Take a step toward understanding someone different from you.
“You make the path by walking.” (Robert Bly)