Ruby Woo Prep Entry 1–Questions and Prayer Requests

IMG_1448The countdown has begun! I leave in less than one week for the Ruby Woo Pilgrimage and I think I might be just a tad crazy. We had our first call tonight to get start getting ready and I’m already tired hearing the itinerary. Tired, and excited. Also, I basically need to extrovert for the better part of 5 days and, if you know me, you know my extroversion doesn’t usually last that long.

But I’m excited, like deeply and truly, excited. I get to go look at the intersections of justice and faith and our political moment and talk about what that means to women. This feels like one of those moments that is transformative and I am ready for whatever that looks like. Actually, I’m probably not actually ready ready, but I’m willing to walk into it, so that’s as ready as one can be for something like this.

From the highlights of the call, I’m most interested right now in a walk we’re going to do around Harlem on Tuesday to experience and discuss the effects of gentrification on gerrymandering. We’ll also be doing some soul-searching and conversations about the ways that election years influence and even manipulate conversations in the church, as well as moral “wedge issues” that become particularly fraught in election years.

In a practical way, I need prayer for my health. I’ve had back to back migraines this week as well as an upper-respiratory virus, so I’m not in peak shape for a trip that is somewhat demanding. I think that’s my biggest fear going into this is that I’ll miss something because one of my chronic conditions drags me under.

My biggest hope going into this is that I’ll be stretched. I’ve come far enough in this life-journey thing we do to realize that both on the physical and emotional levels, stretching is such a good thing. I also hope I remember to stretch enough at night to cope with bus travel, lol.

And I hope I’ll find the answer to some questions, the biggest one probably being how do I define my role at the intersection of justice and faith and what does that look like in the days to come? And how do I draw folks along with me into a greater understanding of what that looks like?

Power and Participation

#RubyWooPilgrimage
#RubyWooPilgrimage

In my talk for the Lights for Liberty vigil, I mentioned the feelings of helplessness that can often overtake us in the face of such overwhelming evil such as the current human rights violations being perpetrated in our name at our border. It’s easy to sink into a sense of complete impotence as an individual against such a large problem, or to turn away, overwhelmed and just try to pretend it’s not happening.

And I get it, I struggle frequently to find balance between staying aware and not looking away from the atrocities in this world and living my life, being present for my family, and finding joy in the good of creation that is still all around us. Between the human rights violations and the ecological disaster that we are poised on the precipice of, I feel like I can barely breathe some days.

But this is where engaging and participating actually comes into play as the ultimate win-win situation. You see, by engaging and finding something we can do to help the situation, we not only find a way to make the world better, we make ourselves better in the process. And in doing that, we also can find the space to breathe, to be less overwhelmed, to be present in our own lives and in the lives of those in our communities. I find this advice from Rabbi Ruttenberg to be absolutely essential in continuing to find energy to move forward.

64680829_2204039533050747_5388701054596546560_n

Pick something you can do, do it. Keep doing that week after week. Write your representatives, talk to your friends and call them into the movement, read books and articles and get a better education and understanding of current events, attend events, go to a protest, check on your local organizers and activists. If we all just keep doing what we can in the moment, it doesn’t really matter how “big” or how “small” our contributions are if we just keep at it. It all adds up to a big movement, with lots of various-sized parts, and it will make a difference.

The education and engagement factor is why I want to go on the RubyWoo Pilgrimage this fall. I want to be better equipped and educated so I can come back and share that with my community, and then we can go forward together and make a bigger difference collectively.

If you want to help get me on that bus, you can donate to my Facebook fundraiser here, and then follow this blog for updates as I go on that trip this fall!