May we get over ourselves

Dear President Trump,

It used to be that our church had two services, the first at 9 and the second at 11, with choir practice in between at 10. I thought that arrangement was pretty great; on mornings when I felt antsy and wanted to get on with the day, I could go at 9 and be done by 11 and on days when I wanted to sleep in more, I could go at 10 and still be done by 11 if I wanted, or stretch things out to include the later service.

For a variety of reasons, our ministerial staff decided that two full services per Sunday was no longer sustainable and we’ve shifted to a 9am meditation/prayer time and a regular service at 10:30. Choir practice is now at 9 and we finish at 10. We have three more weeks of choir until we break for the summer and I’m only now accepting this new timing. I’m not proud of this, but until the last couple of weeks I’ve thoroughly resented both the 9am start time and the half hour break after practice before service starts; things should be lined up contiguously so that time can be used efficiently. Well, that, and I haven’t liked having a half hour where I had to figure out how to occupy myself since I don’t especially like unstructured time around a bunch of people.

But something shifted last week and then that something shifted even a bit more this week. Last week a small handful of us were there on time and started talking while we waited for everyone else and we dove in pretty deep, talking about race and gender right off the bat. I thought to myself, ‘hmm, this I can do.’ After practice a few of us went back to the conversation and I felt kind of comfortable.

Then after practice today one of the women said “Hey, if anyone wants to watch, I’ve got a recording of my daughter’s performance from last night.” There were probably 10 of us gathered around her phone, listening intently for 7 or 8 minutes (I really couldn’t hear much, but it didn’t matter). The best part was looking at the other women and watching them wipe tears from their eyes, or just let them fall. I couldn’t see the woman whose child was the focus so I don’t know whether she was verklempt too, but almost everyone else was, including me.

I told you the other day that tears are like truth serum. The truth that got touched for me today was that it didn’t matter at all that this girl and the other kids who performed with her (mostly) weren’t our kids – we felt such tenderness towards them that it transcended the me/mine boundaries we generally adhere to in our society. It was lovely. And hopeful. And now I’m wishing we had more than three weeks of these half hour breaks before folks scatter for the summer.

May we all feel safe and let our tears fall.
May we all be happy to hold everyone’s children tenderly.
May we all support women and trust they know what is healthy for them and their families.
May we all get over ourselves and make peace with one another, for our children’s sake.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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