What a year 2021 has been. We started the year with a Capitol insurrection (and Covid out of control) and are ending with Covid surging again. My disillusionment with life in 2015/16 has not proven to be untrue based on how events have played out since I fell to the floor in despair at that time. Life has continued to throw us many reasons to feel this despair, and many are feeling it and acting out in irrational ways, but the truth is hope is still here in the midst of all of this chaos. I have found this hope despite our current circumstances. I had to work on my own healing to find it. This healing came through the love of a friends who were incredibly for me. This community of friends loved me through the pain, and I got to the other side. This is why I am still a believer in the beloved community despite the heartache is can dish out too. While 2021 has been a difficult year on a massive worldwide and national scale, this is also the year I felt liberation for my spirit. I believe love is here and is with us now. I have experienced it.
I saw a meme that said: When you realize 2022 is 2020 too with a picture of Moira Rose from “Schitt’s Creek” on it. I laughed and screamed “NO!” It is funny, and I am not sure that will not prove to be somewhat true too. Ha! I love humor can still be found in this world that is crying out for healing. We need humor as we do the courageous work of healing and believing the future is going to be better than what is predicted. Helping people to learn how to live with the way things are is the most important work I can think of right now. Teaching our children to face what is hard, not to run from it, will do so much for them and their future. Coddling and pretending like awful things are not happening are exacerbating the problems. We have to face reality as it is, not how we wish it was. Our kids can handle it if we can. Go through the pain that life is not what we had been taught. There is good news in that too.
Our kids can handle it. This has proven to be true in my own family because my kids have watched me fall apart and let go of everything I once believed to be true for a while. They watched me piece myself back together and reclaim what revealed to still be true when everything else fell away. I did not lose my faith, my faith became stronger. They also moved churches with me in 2017, and that was not on their agenda. They were not having a faith crisis; they wanted their friends. But they supported me anyway. Jake too, but this part is about the kids. It has not been an easy road, but it is a road that has led us to deeper conversations, and I love it. I let them think for themselves and ask all the questions they want. My kids have such deep wisdom inside them and I cannot help but feel hope when I hear their perspectives on the world. The kids are okay. Oh, Blake may be lagging in school according to grades, but he is flourishing where it counts—authentic human interaction. This kid is the life of the party and is living his best life now. Kimberlyn is so wise and studying the world around her. She has even told her mom that she will consider allowing her to help her navigate her inner self. She is a 5 and I am a 4 on the enneagram. My wing is 5, so I get a lot of what she is doing and how she is processing the world. It is helpful that Glennon Doyle and Abby Wambach are married. Their podcast has given us lots of tools for reflection and laughter. Glennon is a 4 like me, Abby a soccer player like Kimbo. Glennon said she is an internal tour guide. She can take you scuba diving without any water. That is an accurate description of what I can do. This is how I convinced Kimberlyn I can help. Life is not perfect, but I love how deep it is now.
Jake had an amazing soccer year despite all the complications Covid brought to even having a season at all. Sachse High School Boys Soccer team made it to the 4th round of the playoffs in Texas! That is the top 16 in the state, and they were ranked nationally. This is not a new feat for Sachse but what made this one unique is how unexpected it was. Their star player was out of the country training in Spain hoping to get picked up by a professional club (he is getting really close and we are so proud). Without him, everyone was sure they were done for as far as winning district and doing much in the playoffs. But that proved to be untrue. One of Jake’s players who had just learned English said this: Why can’t we dream? Dreams are free. “Dreams are free” became their motto and inspired the amazing run they had this year. What is so special is they relied on every single player to make it. I get tears in my eyes every time I write this. I want life to work this way, but without the competition part. We are all making it because every single one of us is doing our part. And when we can’t, for whatever reason, the team picks up where we are lagging or unavailable for a cool reason – like trying to make a professional team- and takes it from there.
The world of Christianity still leaves me sad. But I am also unrelentingly hopeful for it because for whatever reason I am still here. I want so desperately to live the world I know it can be, but it is difficult. I am ending this amazing year a little hurt and trying not worry about what comes after May. I have heard the worst opinions of me spoken out loud and I am trying to recover from that. I know my passion can get in the way of clarity and I have taken responsibility for that. I have also learned that world of Christianity is way too competitive. Learning to dialogue in good faith is the task at hand. Christianity has been too performance-based, like sports, and it hurts relationships in the same way I saw in soccer. Both worlds can do better and be their distinctive selves in the worlds they each reside in, soccer and Christianity.
I watched “I Am Woman” the other night. It is a story about Helen Reddy. It was such a powerful film and sent me much-needed healing words. It is tough going against misogyny that still ever-present everywhere. I am growing and it is awkward. I am doing things I never thought possible for me and growing in confidence. I am saying what I need and desire and sometimes that works and sometimes it does not.
These words from “I Am Woman” have sparked the flame in me again:
I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understandOh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can face anything
Here are some highlights of 2021: