I sat on the beach listening to the sound of seagulls squawk in circles while searching for a sand-covered potato chip or a half-eaten sandwich. Beneath them, white foam and waves of dark gray crashed on wet sand, and as I watched them roll in, I thought of the waves and waves and waves of endless violence and grief we’ve experienced this year in America and beyond. I have no more words–they are caught in my throat, and have become a stream of tears beneath a stone of sorrow.
A few days ago, before our country bled red once again, I watched a school of dolphins swim close to the shoreline. It’s a rare sight on this coast, and I felt joy bubble up as they dove and rose again in a synchronized dance. A swimmer paddle boarded out to catch a glimpse up close and returned with the report that a baby dolphin swam beneath them. Every time the young one turned in a new direction, the the entire group of dolphins followed, protecting the baby from harm. Eventually, they swam away together, and their bobbing fins disappeared where the sky meets the horizon.
After the news reports, I find myself turning inwards, wanting to grieve for the losses alone, wanting to swim in the current of my own feelings. But, I recognize this is not a time for private grief. When the news shows face after face of dead men speaking to us from the grave, the grief must be a public one. This is not the time to swim alone.
Have you found a place for your grief or fear? Have you found a place to lament or repent or cry or pray? Have you found a place to show your weakness and allow yourself to be guided by another’s strength? If not, I encourage you to look around you. I have leaned hard into the strength of my friend Deidra, and her online gathering Prayers of the People. Look for the people who are gathering together in peace, look for the ones in whom you recognize courage, look for the ones who hold hope behind a veil of tears. They will be a shield and binder of wounds. They will be our peacemakers.