It’s officially the last day of the year and like others, I’m reflecting on all that’s gone down in 2016.
We’ve dealt with tremendous social upheaval as our nation went through the most bizarre and contentious electoral cycle in memory. This is only heightened by seeing increased numbers of hate crimes taking place, acts of police brutality taxing our communities, and a tidal wave of white supremacist sentiment that have left many of us, particularly people of color, feeling worn and weary.
I was ready to set the year that gave us DJT as our president-elect aflame until I remembered something…2016 has not just been full of heartache for me.
Yes, there have been days when I literally could not leave my bed because of the heaviness my spirit bore for the violence, destruction, and death experienced in Aleppo…
…for the movement to hold human life and land as sacred over oil interests at Standing Rock…
…for still needing to cry out that Black Lives Matter…
…for all the ways in which members of the human family act in their own interest that lead to the oppression of others.
I’d be remiss if I failed to acknowledge the good that has come out of 2016. This is the year where I’ve unapologetically lived into my sense of call. Where I’ve done the work of questioning myself and the Divine about who I’m meant to be and then worked to live into that.
This means that I’ve traveled all over the country speaking about cultivating spaces that are inclusive and equitable for all people, particularly sexual and gender minorities.
I’ve gotten the opportunity to sit with students, teachers, care providers, and faith leaders and speak about spiritual violence, abuse, and trauma.
I’ve been blessed to work with incredible young people through venues like the Wild Goose Festival where I was able to do things like partake in graham cracker communion served by an atheist teenager who still finds value in sacraments that bring people together in community.
I’ve gotten to preach and teach about the need for justice in houses of worship and academic institutions.
I’ve trusted someone with my heart for the first time in a long time, fell in love, and worked with them to create space where said love moved us to friendship so we could be more of who we were meant to be.
I’ve spent time crafting articles, litanies, prayers, and other writings that others shared helped them feel that their experiences and their pains were being acknowledged.
I’ve publicly come out as queer and pansexual.
I’ve leaned into my identity as an activist and community organizer, engaging in work highlighting the need for #embodiedsolidarity with others, bringing attention to a national #leadepidemic, and rallying support for the water protectors of Oceti Sakowin.
I completed graduate school and on the day after my 30th birthday I walked across a stage and received a degree that allows me to tell others that I am a Master of Social Justice.
Mere days after that I got to celebrate the 1st anniversary for my nonprofit, Center for Inclusivity.
While 2016 has been hard, it has been a year I am grateful for because it stretched and pushed me. It’s reminded me that the disquiet I feel in my spirit can be harnessed to do good work that is responsive to the need I see in the world.
So thank you to the year that has encouraged me to unapologetically be myself and walk, speak, and act boldly in the places I find myself rooted in.