hope as a post-insurrection companion

January 6th messed me up, and I still haven’t really recovered. I knew things had been escalating, and while I was shocked by the insurrection and the actions against America by Americans, I wasn’t really all that surprised. Yet, for some reason, I’ve been off since that day. I’ve been sad and frustrated and broken-hearted.

I keep thinking that I’ll feel better tomorrow. I know that my hope rests in Jesus, which has made these feelings of hopelessness all the more difficult to reconcile. I’ve started to write about it many times over the last few weeks, but words have failed me. I simply haven’t been able to articulate what’s going on inside me.

Then, listening to my dearest Emily P. Freeman on her podcast this morning, she said these words and tears instantly started pouring down my face.

“We witness dissonance in the world around us, when we see people make terrible choices on live TV, or in the parking lot of a Starbucks, or in the sanctuary of our churches, or in the halls of a federal building, and then we have to decide what to make for dinner that night, it’s disorienting at best, traumatizing at worst.”

Emily P. Freeman

That’s it. Right there. I watched the news on January 6th with a heaviness in my chest reminiscent of 9/11. But then January 7th didn’t feel like 9/12. On January 7th, there were hordes of people making excuses for what had happened, spreading lies, furthering the us versus them mentality. On January 7th we felt more divided than ever.

January 7th came and went, and people I dearly love said nothing. People who love Jesus, who are called to be instruments of peace, acted as though it was business as usual. And then I had to decide what to make for dinner.

Thank you, Emily, for helping me put my finger on what’s been eating at me since January 6th. I’ve stood in the figurative parking lot and watched people attempt to burn down the world around me, and then they go home, go to work, go to church, as though nothing has happened. And I’ve been expected to do the same, but I just can’t. Something shifted that day, not just in me, but in our nation and in the Church. I don’t know what comes next, but I know things won’t be the same.

Emily went on to say something towards the end of the episode that ignited a little flicker of warmth inside of me, one that I’m giving attention to in order to fan it into flame.

“Of course we have a hope, absolutely we do. But if we’re not paying attention, engaging in rhetoric about hope and unity without first actively acknowledging the harm, could be hurting the very people we say we want to support. Instead we weep and we lament and we confess in the kingdom of God, but we do it with hope as our companion, because hope is our companion.”

Emily P. Freeman

Hope is our companion… I’ve been grieving since January 6th because what happened that day broke God’s heart, just like all the division and hate before and since. And that IS hard. My heart should hurt. I should be grieving. But sorrow and hope are not mutually exclusive, and I needed that reminder. Maybe you did too.

I’m not going to magically “feel better” like I’ve been waiting for. Things are heavy and broken and that’s not changing anytime soon. The effect of the dissonance I’m experiencing is jarring, and then dinner still has to be made.

But now I have this image in my head to help guide me forward. Walking in the dark hand in hand with a light called Hope. I’m not working my way through the hurt so I can finally arrive at hope. Hope is by my side all the time.

Thank you to John Townsend for the beautiful photo via Unsplash.

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