Posted on November 18, 2016
On the edge of the holiday season, I sit in a hotel in downtown Cleveland, considering the new normal. Over the last week and a half, I have had so many interactions with people I care deeply about who are hurting and afraid. They are afraid for themselves, their friends, and their clients.
Many of my friends are dreading the Thanksgiving table conversations with people with different political views. I feel for my friends, but they are the lucky ones. Other families will gather and wonder what this new reality will mean for their ability to access lifesaving health care, their ability to keep their family together without being deported, and whether it is safe to express their religious identity without threats or actual violence.
My heart has broken a thousand times over the last week and a half, and the news is bringing little comfort that the new normal will be anything different from what was promised during the election. I struggle to find appropriate language to express myself, much less comfort others. When we can’t find the right words, our emotions too often turn to anger and frustration.
I am fortunate to wake up every morning and think about a better future. This week, I got to talk to some amazing folks working with kids experiencing homelessness in the Cleveland schools. While the political reality is impacting most everyone, we still have kids who sleep in cars and go to bed hungry. We also have heroes that have dedicated their lives to ensuring that these kids are loved, and are working towards a future where this unnecessary and tragic reality does not face any child or adult.
None of us enter this new normal alone and, thanks to all of you, neither do our clients. The kids in Cleveland have Life Skills Coaches who love them, those living with HIV in rural Iowa have a case manager who won’t give up on them, families in Pasadena have a medical clinic that serves as a sanctuary from pain and hurt of their life, a transgender youth in San Francisco finds an outreach worker who values her for who she is on the inside and out. Every day around this country, someone lost finds hope, someone in isolation finds love and acceptance.
In the next week, we will feed millions who would otherwise go hungry. In the next week, we will shelter tens of thousands who would have otherwise frozen to death. In the next week, we will be the one small light of hope that convinces someone not to give up on life and find hope in the darkness.
…and we’ll do it the week after that
….and the week after that
….and the week after that
And that, my friends, is why I’m thankful. I am lucky to call you friend and partner in this journey.