All Is Not Lost

I’ve been trying for days to articulate my reasons for participating in the “Women’s March on Topeka.” I think maybe, just maybe, I’m ready to talk about them. 

2016 proved to be a difficult year for me personally. Only my closest confidantes knew the struggles I faced, and even then, no one truly realized the depths of my internal anguish. It was a year of loss.

I lost confidence in my vocation. In my eighth year of ministry, people continued to be surprised that I could preach an articulate sermon, lead thoughtful discussion, connect with suffering, preside over meaningful funerals, and officiate memorable weddings. Congregants bemoaned the demonstration of strong leadership (btw: I’ve never heard a man called pushy) and the exercise of prophetic voice (keep your opinions to yourself). I was asked, “Why can’t you be more like your husband?” I quit writing and speaking unless it was required.

I lost confidence in my ability to “make things all better.” Having been a mom for 26 years, I have witnessed and experienced a variety of ups and downs with my children (biological, adopted, and step). But honestly, I wasn’t primed for this family crisis. I wasn’t in any way prepared to watch my child struggle with issues of identity and self-worth. No matter what I did or didn’t do, I couldn’t make it all better, and my heart broke for the child whom I loved so ferociously. I could not overcome this sadness.

I lost confidence in my future. Prior to last year, I was pretty certain about a future path. I continued to work toward my Doctor of Ministry, but my passion waned. Always an excellent student, I began to struggle with basic assignments. I lost focus easily, and my creativity failed me. I considered dropping out of my program, but I was too ashamed (and not to mention stubborn!) to quit. I requested some extra time with a course and eventually pulled it off. I’m not sure where it’s going, but I’m no quitter.

I lost confidence in my country and her inhabitants. As cynical as I can sometimes be, in my heart I remain an idealist. “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” resonates deep within me. I believe in the lofty dreams of freedom. I believe in the ideals of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. And I believe that all persons are created equal and that every single person on this planet is inherently deserving of these dreams and ideals. I am deeply saddened to discover that much of America feels differently.

So consumed by these circumstances, I lost myself for a time.

I march because my privileged status affords me the luxury of self-reflection, access to mental healthcare services, entrance to higher education, and audacity to dream.

I march because when too many women and marginalized persons lose themselves, they do not possess the resources to find themselves again.

I march because I believe as a minister of the gospel that Jesus loves lost people and knows them by name.

I march for the woman at the well who had lost herself in serial relationships but found hope in being seen and known by Jesus.

I march for the woman who reached out to touch Jesus’ cloak though she had lost herself for many years to a bloody infirmity.

I march for the woman who lost herself to a bad reputation but became known and remembered for anointing Jesus.

I march because women and all marginalized persons lose themselves to inequality daily – whether in the workplace, the healthcare system, the church, the government, or the educational system.

I march because women and all marginalized persons lose themselves when they have no choices – in relationships, in the economy, over their bodies.

I march not only to find myself but also to say to precious, vulnerable people of all persuasions, “All is not lost.”