Remember no feeling is final. Keep your feet glued to the ground.
I had no idea what I was getting into when we opened Magdalene St. Louis. I thought I did. But I didn't. And thank God.
I am learning that Magdalene is not just a place where I help others. We call the Magdalene community "the circle" ... and although I am learning that my place in the circle is not as one of the women ... I am learning that as I find my place in the circle as Board President, it is a place where I am changed as well. Where as I put others at the center, an ancillary benefit is that "Love Heals" is for me, too. Where I too "have to feel to heal." Where I have a role and responsibility with the women and that it's about them first but that I also have to be committed to working on my own stuff, to taking my own time and space to feeling my own feelings and letting the women inspire me to being open to the healing power of love not just from me but for me in other places in my life.
I am learning that Magdalene is changing who I am as a priest. It is changing what I think about leadership. It is breaking down all the neat and tidy categories we are taught in seminary and that I have been taught in nearly 20 years of ordained ministry and replacing them with the messiness of love. It is a combination of healthy boundaries and deep vulnerability -- and being in communities of support and accountability to know when that vulnerability is appropriate and healing and used for the greater good (and also when despite the best intentions it is inappropriate and even harmful). Of knowing where my stuff ends and someone else's stuff begins. And when it is truly the stuff we are in together.
It is challenging everything I have believed about the church ... and reminding me of much that I have forgotten.
I am learning that the circle of Magdalene is not just those of us who are involved in Magdalene St. Louis. It is the whole city, region, nation and world. We are feeling many, many things right now. These feelings are being shouted in the streets and by people blocking our interstates. They are being left in comment sections on websites. They are being stared across dinner tables where words can't be found. They are being felt in secret out of fear of not being accepted.
These feelings can be so scary but they must not be feared. We need to make space for them. They must be expressed. They must be felt. We have to feel to heal.
We need to remember that no feeling is final. We need to keep our feet planted on the ground. We need to remember we are in this circle together.
At the same time, I am learning that the circle of Magdalene has people in it who need incredible safety to learn -- sometimes for the first time -- how to have healthy relationships with each other ... and that there are times and places that I don't need to be in that particular circle because I'm not a part of that work. I am learning that there are circles in this city where people who have been traumatized and oppressed need to be with one another, and they don't need me intruding -- and they certainly don't need me taking over -- but they need me doing my own "white folk work" and using my power and privilege to support them.
I am learning that my biggest enemy is my privilege that tempts me to free from discomfort to comfort. Because the comfort is a luxurious prison. The comfort is choosing anesthetic over feeling. The comfort is not a place of healing. The comfort is not of Christ.
The first disciples were called People of the Way. That Way was the Way of the Cross. It is a way of deep feeling with our feet glued to the path ... together.
Jesus wept for the death of his friend. Jesus mourned for Jerusalem. Jesus raged and turned over tables in the temple and got really mad at his friends. Jesus cried out in despair from the cross.
Jesus was not afraid of feelings -- his or anyone else's. Jesus knew that no feeling was final. Jesus knew we just need to keep our feet glued to the ground with one another.
I am beginning to learn that following Jesus is living this way. And I can't do it alone. None of us can. I don't know what it I look like because if it is truly Jesus the path is beyond my control.
I don't know what it will look like, but I do know where it will lead. It will lead to the Cross. It will lead to that place where everything is stripped away and count as loss but for the surpassing love of Christ. It will lead through that Cross to resurrection. To that place where we will all get woke. To that place where we will all get free.
I am beginning to learn that Becca's words have to be my mantra as I walk this path and as we walk it together.
I am beginning to learn to remember no feeling is final.
I am beginning to learn how to keep my feet glued to the ground.
I am beginning to learn that if I am to help lead healthy bodies -- be it the body of a Board, or the Body of Christ at a Cathedral -- I have to be healthy myself.
I am beginning to believe that this is the way we must travel together.