A Moment of Honesty with Myself

A Moment of Honesty with Myself February 13, 2017

Ahnnalise Stevens-Jennings

I have been trying not to think about how I am feeling. I am a Christian, I have a masters degree in Divinity. I work at a church and at a seminary. I am supposed to be able to find hope even in the depths of hopelessness. The eschatological dream that is born in the gospel is supposed to give me enough to hold on to so that I can get out of bed even when day after day I see the injustices of the world grow. I shouldn’t complain. I live in the United States of America. I have a solidly middle class life and a safety net that many others both here and abroad do not have. I can speak my opinion freely, practice my religion freely, and I was able to marry the person that I love. I can go to the doctor when I am sick. I don’t worry about when I will eat my next meal. I recognize that I have a lot of privilege. It should not be difficult for me to find the joy . But instead, I am stuck. I feel hopeless. I feel my edges curling in and I can’t stop writing sentences that start with “I”. I’m caught in my own head.

Hope usually brings us out of ourselves. It allows us to focus on others and on the future. Real, gospel hope opens up the world. It brings glimpses of the Kingdom here. Every day’s new wave of bad news brings more fear, more selfishness, more entrapment. I wasn’t prepared for this. When I started doing the work of the Kingdom, the world seemed to be full of hope. But I made a mistake. I put my trust in society, in history, in government. I saw my world changing for the better and I rode the tide in. It was easy. I was swimming with the current. I have never really had to swim against it. Now, I am a salmon. I am swimming upstream. I thought I knew what being in the resistance felt like. I was wrong. I had no idea.

Bits of hope return though. I see them when my friends somehow manage to be doing the work of the resistance on all fronts at once when I can’t find the strength to even fight against one. They encourage me. They keep me going. I find hope in the pages of my Bible. I find hope in the resistance stories of Christians who have come before me. I find hope in the artwork that I am seeing, the poems, the stories, the songs that I am hearing. The gospel is not lost. It is not hiding. It is here. I have to reach for it. I pray that I have the strength.

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