Listening

Listening
In the midst of such pain and helplessness, listening might seen indulgent and slow
But before we act, we need an unrushed open space of understanding
There are too many things we don’t understand, can’t grasp, are overwhelmed by
Listening
It’s not a do nothing kind of attitude
It’s not an apathetic silence
It’s a curious and ready precursor to how I’m going to join the work
Listening that moves us to action
Listening that makes us aware of our complacency, our assumptions, our own ill contributions
Listening that crushes our hearts
Listening that rebalances the power between “us” and whoever is on the other side
The “enemy”, the marginalized, the idolized
Listening
An open, curious humility that proves we’re more alike than we are different
That reshapes the easy narrative we can live when we’re at an arms length from others
That rebuilds a unity driven by hope
If we can listen like this
If we can hold this space, pause the judging and open our eyes
It will pull us into action
You won’t just see the hungry but you’ll give the five loaves and 2 fish
You’ll go out and vote
You’ll contact your representative to ban assault weapons
You’ll reach out to say I don’t know what to say but I mourn with you
You’ll stop being so defensive when told about your micro aggressions
You’ll stop blaming the kids from poor neighborhoods for incarceration that is a systemic issue
You’ll go and volunteer at the local community organization to give time to one life at a time
You’ll stop acting so quickly thinking YOU are the savior, You’re not.
You’ll walk the streets of London for a prayer tour
You’ll beg God to move mountains of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation
You’ll create films that break you and mending means generosity and activism
You’ll use your privilege to equal the playing field
Listening
Is more than sitting back and doing nothing
It’s the beginning of action, of hope, of seeing that all of us are in need
All of us are created in the image of God
All of us deserve love and care and safety
All of us long for trust and hope
Maybe these similarities are stronger than our presupposed differences
That we’re fighting the same enemy of hate and apathy
Listening itself is healing
You’re not alone

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Should I Stay or Should I go

In May of 2014, I wanted to moved to London. Out of nowhere I came across the first offering of the LAMDA Fulbright scholarship. I spent months preparing my application. I didn’t get in. While I was sad, I knew it wasn’t time for me to leave Los Angeles yet. 2015 was a year of transition, ugly desert days and WTF moments.

Then a year later, Tim & Lindsey tell me they’re moving to London. Again, I asked God to send me to London. I re-read my past application and saw all the glaring generalities and flaws. This time I spent months preparing, getting feedback, revising, asking people to pray for my process and studying my monologues. I didn’t get in. While I was sad, I knew that God’s timing is perfect and this wasn’t the way to go if I’m to go.

In these last two years, I’ve really wanted to move to London. Last summer I really started praying about it and inviting friends into this wish. It was scary to let others know that I wanted this because if it doesn’t happen, it could seem embarrassing or premature. But as I opened up about why I wanted to go and what I could see myself doing there, I saw all the purposes and plans for me to be faithful and invested exactly where I was. In my prayers to move to London, I have fallen deeper in love with Los Angeles and I am committed to my city.

This new desire to be faithful where I was, replaced my bitterness with gratitude at my service job, renewed my overwhelming artist life with exciting purpose, restructured my community of friends with an openness to connect all over. I love Los Angeles because I love the people here. People here want more, hope for more, endure in the messy, create even in doubt. I am right here in LA, right now. That said, when God told Abraham to go, he picked up and went. Abraham was wealthy, known, connected and rooted in his community but when God said GO, he was ready and he went.

How can we live in the tension of radical openness to change and deep investment in the present? How can make the best of those things in our hands while having our hands open?