“We will not be shaken.”

I often do this thing where I play Christian praise music, and listen over and over until it moves me to tears. This happens around once per year, and instantly brings me back to my upbringing. Church, or some type of display of faith, has been part of my life since I was a wee tot. I went to church every single Sunday while growing up. And while I know this does not make for the perfect religious observer, I invested so deeply that at any given time, I was leading praise and worship in my youth group’s band, running Childcare programs during the church service, or serving a brief stint as an acolyte.

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that this year has been a year of reflection around religion and spirituality. From my own journey, to the possibility of finding a church, it has been a year of ups and downs. Even more so, it has been a year of difficult conversations with some of the most important people in my life.

And the conversation continues to appear.

Have you ever been abandoned or rejected because of who you are at the core? Or as a result, have you ever faced that rejection in light of someone’s faith or religion? What did you do? How did you move forward? Did you make amends?

Could you make amends?

Let’s pause here for a moment.

Regardless of one’s tenure in DC, when your best friend visits from Miami, you do all the monuments, museums, and food outings as humanly possible (roughly, an average of 20k steps on the Fitbit this weekend, if you’re wandering what my version of, “humanly possible,” means). We started our Tour de DC at one of the newer national monuments, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Just as we were walking up to the beautiful cut-out of Dr. King moving through the rock, I was distracted by a mass of people singing on the other side of the granite. I temporarily separated from my friend, and decided to follow the music.

In the crowd, there were people of all races, sizes, shapes, backgrounds, ages, and abilities. It was powerful, and my body was instantly covered in goosebumps. There is something really spiritual about museums and monuments to begin with, and encountering a church service at the start of this intended-powerful day was something that truly caught me off guard. Eventually joined by my friend, we witnessed each person in the group of 75-100 having an impacting experience.

“Everyone is experiencing healing in some way,” my friend whispered to me.

This is when I started to cry.

He was absolutely right. Everyone was having their own moment. And looking around the group, each person was truly in their own space – whatever that space looked like for them. It was there space alone. And I was in mine.

“We will not be shaken.”

Again, “We will not be shaken.”

This lyric resounded over and over, and I looked around the crowd with tears continuing to fall down my face.

Belief. It’s a powerful thing. And no matter what you believe, the same can be found in various environments and capacities. This one just so happened to reflect a huge part of who I used to be, and also so much of what I was searching for this year (in the most edited, amended, enhanced, and different way).

The way in which religion appears as a support or antithesis to justice is a cause to pause on. I often do. And I did in that moment.

The unapologetic raising of hands. The worship. The community.

Loudly, “We will not be shaken!”

Despite the dissonance, and through the continued questions around hope, fear, and failure, I found myself in tears yesterday. Typically coming from a place of guilt, more than anything, these tears reflected hope. And the only way I knew how to fully capture my feeling in that moment was by quickly typing into my phone the aforementioned questions:

Have you ever been abandoned or rejected because of who you are at the core? Or as a result, have you ever faced that rejection in light of someone’s faith or religion? What did you do? How did you move forward? Did you make amends?

Could you make amends?

Will you make amends? 

While I sit at a trendy coffee shop in NW DC, I am extra aware that today is Sunday. And this day, for so long, meant so much more than it does in this very moment. And I am at peace with this discovery. Instead, Sunday has transformed into a day of writing and reflecting. Pausing. Sunday is a day for peace. My peace. 

What will you make of your day? Of your reflection? Of your heart?

Will you make amends?

Shaken,

Michael

2 thoughts on ““We will not be shaken.”

  1. Michael, I love and appreciate your honesty. Sadly, it’s easier sometimes to stay “in the huddle” of the conservative Christian circles. Some of us stay there longer than we should. For me, it took someone I love fiercely coming out for me to examine my faith and reconcile my beliefs. I’ve made statements in the past out of ignorance and fear of breaking from the huddle. I still believe the bible is truth, but I think there’s room at the table for all people and many interpretations. I hope in your journey to search that you don’t find organized Christianity , I hope you find a group of followers of Christ who see you for the fearfully and wonderfully made person that you are. I hope they love ,teach, and accept you. We are out there! I’m sorry that you’ve experienced rejection based on religious dogma. For what it’s worth, I think the same God who created you loves you still. I hope you find what you seek, my friend.

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    • Mindy, I have said it before, but I continue to be in awe of your heart. Thank you for the kind words, the experience, and the reflection. You are and have always been someone who lives in the here and now, and I am always so appreciative when you pause with me via this blog. I have known you a VERY long time, and evolving together has been a joy. Thanks, again. And thanks for the notes to pause on above… lots to think about on this beautiful Monday morning. Love.

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