Once upon a time my life was driven by a deeply held belief that the only way to be loved and accepted was to be whatever the world thought I should be. I held impossible standards of perfection for myself. My inability to meet those standards fueled my self-hatred. My self-hatred fueled my alcoholic drinking, disordered eating and my general self-destruction.
It was 10 years ago this month that I let go of everything I thought I knew, walked into my first 12-step meeting and asked for help. Just two, maybe three weeks later I walked into this sanctuary for the first time, drawn in by the sign on Grinstead that reads, “No hellfire. No brimstone.”
So, I entered this sanctuary looking for refuge from the fear of my own mind and the courage to live a new way of life. But today, I also come here looking for refuge from the fear of living in a country that I no longer recognize. I come here seeking the courage to be a Christ follower in these times, which is not an easy thing to be. Yesterday, just as I had thought I had finished writing this testimony, I saw pictures from Charlottesville. I saw the body of a black man flying through the air as he is struck by a car driven by a white supremacist and I am saddened and terrified. I wondered if hate and fear were winning. My mind drifted to what it must have felt like for him. I see that and I want to stay home. I don’t want to put myself at risk. But for me today, that’s not an option. Because today I am a follower of the risen Christ who calls me to do that which terrifies me in the name of God’s wildly inclusive and abundant love. I am called to physically stand alongside those that are most vulnerable in these times. I am also called to be a voice of love of all humanity, not just for people of color but also for the white supremacist. Because God has no favorites, neither can I. These are not easy things to do and I rely on the people of Highland to show me how to do it. I come here and I am reminded that God will have the last word, that Love Will Win!
So, thank you, from the bottom of my heart for this opportunity to serve Highland in this way, to attempt to pay forward what’s been given to me, to play a part in the growing inclusivity and love of all. Words cannot express how humbled and grateful that you have chosen me to be a part of this vital work of love. Thank you.