With Sighs Too Deep

“With sighs too deep for words” 

This is the prayer that is replaying in my head and heart today. As an Enneagram 9, I am the peacemaker. I want peace for everyone. Last night, after the events of the day, my body was feeling every bit of the tension of the day. I decided to grab the current book I’m reading and draw myself a bath. I needed to do something that was good for my body and me. It didn’t take long before the tears fell from my face. And as the tears fell, my fur babies Luna and Neville curled up next to the tub. It was the moment of peace, joy and laughter I didn’t realize I needed until that very moment. Yet I wasn’t blind to the world outside still in chaos.

“With sighs too deep for words”

My heart aches that our country continues to be so divided. We have forgotten how to truly listen and learn from each other. Earlier this year, I committed to joining a friend’s book study on racism. I’ve learned so much as we have read “White Fragility,” “Stamped,” “Between the World and Me,” “The New Jim Crow,” “Just Mercy” and our current read “Racecraft.” I’m still committed to learning and being a better ally. There are days that I fail at this so I will continue to confess my own complacency in calling out white privilege.

“With sighs too deep for words”

There is so much swirling around in my brain and heart as I continue to process yesterday’s events. I still yearn for a day where we can learn from each other. I yearn for a day when our love for each other unites us rather than divides us. I yearn for a better future for my friends children who have experienced the realities of being a black child in a white world. I yearn for so much better and I’m not blind to the work we still have to do. I can’t help but think of the baptismal promises said in my baptism and at my confirmation, “Let your light so shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” 

I want to share with you words that I wrote as we waited for the election results to come in. These words have been sitting on my iPad since that day. I’ve been afraid to share them because I know not all of my readers will agree or even understand. But I need to share them in the hopes that maybe they’ll create some dialogue and we can learn from each other. I also think you’ll notice the deep difference in how my body reacted on both days; a day where the tension in my body released and another day when the tension was felt in every part of my body.

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Written November 2020…

Four years ago, I was on the losing side of history. I felt so many emotions. I was disappointed and hopeless. Yet there was a holy fire that was lit in me that day and has continued every day since that day (I wrote this blog post for the Slate Project four years ago: https://www.slateproject.org/blog/grief-guilt-and-the-holy-fire-of-hope-by-tara-ulrich

This time around, I voted by mail because we are in the midst of a pandemic and I need to protect my neighbors and those who are most vulnerable. So Election Day Tuesday was a quiet day, yet I found myself stress baking and trying to distract myself from election results. The smell of fresh apple crisp and baked oatmeal are still lingering in the air. 

Tuesday, of course, drug on forever. And each day since Tuesday, Ive found myself filled with anxiety. What would happen in the days to come? In the hours? In the minutes? I kept scrolling and wondering when the news would be confirmed. 

Then this morning, I woke up to watch The Kitchen on the Food Network. I was scrolling Tik Tok and saw a post of a woman who posted about the news. I immediately went to Twitter. One of the first tweets I read said: Biden/Harris win! Tears began falling from my eyes! Tears of relief. Tears of joy. Tears of hope.

However, it isn’t lost on me that there are some of my friends feeling some of the same emotions I felt four years ago. So I find myself wanting to celebrate quietly. But I can’t help but realize that today is a good and historic day. Character matters! We’ve just elected the first woman Vice President. 

For the past four years, I’ve watched and heard stories of my friend’s children who are children of color experience horrendous racism. I’ve watched the news unfold as so many like George Floyd have cried out, “I can’t breathe.” I’ve tried my best to learn and live my life as an ally to those on the margins. There are days that I’ve failed, but I will not stop trying until black, indigenous, LGTBQ+ lives matter as much as white lives matter. We have so much work to do, friends! 

Several months ago, I started engaging in a book club around racial injustice. My eyes have been opened even more to the racism that many feel every day. As we’ve read White Fragility, Stamped, and Between the World and Me and had hard conversations, I’ve felt a deep need for our world to do better. There is so much we’ve omitted about what this world was founded on. The color of our skin does give us advantages in this world.

I voted for sweet Mara, Samuel, and every little kiddo I know. I want better for each and every one of them. But most of all, I want better for my BIPOC, indigenous, and LGTBQ+ friends. There are so many names running through my head as I write this. We must erase white privilege. We must listen, learn and work for a world where justice is served: justice where every human life matters. 

I know this is where some of my readers will disagree. I know some supported Trump because of his beliefs about abortion. However, many of us who are pro choice do not see it as pro abortion. For many of us, pro-choice means that no matter your personal feelings or beliefs, we understand and believe it is not our place to make a decision for another woman about what she can and can’t do with her body. 

Our country still remains so divided. But today is a reminder that love wins. We are called to love one another just as we love ourselves. We are called to work towards a justice that wipes out systematic racism, beats this pandemic, and in the words of our President and VP elect, to heal the soul of our nation. As I heard those words spoken tonight, more tears fell from my eyes. There also was a huge sigh of relief and release from my body.

I know we have so much work to do. But tonight I feel hopeful and that holy fire, lit four years ago, is still burning. It’s flickering with new life. Tonight and for the days to come, may the long process of work and healing begin! 

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“With sighs too deep for words”

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