“Come in, we’re open” are words infused with new meaning as we begin our 89th day since the initial mandate to self-quarantine due to COVID-19. Day after day, depending on our particular context we have pivoted in any number of ways because so much of our common life has been “closed”; some still going to work as essential workers, some circumnavigating what it means to work from home and/or traversing the unfamiliar landscape of homeschooling, some of us wrestling with the harsh reality of being cut off from places and people and resources needed for mental, physical or emotional support, and some of us struggling with the economic burden of lost income, or a furloughed position- and all of us confronted with the reality of so many things being, literally, “closed.”
And at the same time, when I see these words today, I hear and feel a different, perhaps more nuanced meaning and, for me, an aspiration. This past week I sat for at least 2 hours watching a portion of the George Floyd memorial service in Houston. It afforded all of us the container to hold the depth and expanse of emotion born of deep and palpable grief not only from the death of a beloved child of God but exacerbated by a cultural climate that has reached boiling points as protests against police brutality and systemic racism have grown and escalated throughout the country day after day.
So, when I read and hear these words “Come in, we’re open” I am wondering if they might be able to be words describing who we will choose to be in all of this. How “open” are we to hearing the stories of others? How “open” are we to seek out those whose lives and contexts are so radically different from ours, and are we willing to say “come in, sit with me, I will listen, even if it hurts and I will try not to defend or defuse, to negate or deny your reality, your truth, your perspective- I promise to be open.”
As a person who considers themselves white, it is hard right now to know where to start, what to say, where to turn, how to make a difference- even once I see that I have been a part of the problem as a member of a system that has failed so many.
I am encouraged to share that this past week 75 people from local Episcopal churches began a 10-session journey called Sacred Ground. This race dialogue series is one place for many of us to start or begin again. I am even more touched to share that 36 of the 75 people are from our beloved Trinity community- a sign to me that we are at least desirous of issuing the invitation to Holy Spirit to, “Come in, we’re Open” in hopes that our hearts and lives will be changed for good and forever.
We will share more about this journey in the days ahead, but for now, let me offer a deep bow of gratitude to each of you for staying “open”; for your willingness to do the work ahead that will no doubt break our hearts again and again, AND will allow God the space to move in us so that at the journey’s end we will have grown and stretched and shed that which keeps us locked in fear, transforming us into a truly beloved community.
May you never forget at you are loved.