So Much Love in This Room
Last night I was a guest on a Philly arts podcast, talking about my second production of This is My Brave, the show I’d helped bring to the city four years ago. We are doing it again, in October, and now’s the time to publicize. We’ll end up casting 10 people who will share their true stories of mental illness onstage through comedy, poetry, song, dance, and essays. On the podcast I was joined by my friend and fellow producer Denita (there are four of us women on the Brave production team, including Lauren and Jenny). As we talked, the podcast host twice commented, “There is so much love in this room.” And it was true. I am really proud of Denita, who open-heartedly shares her mental health journey, and delighted to partner with her on this new venture.
But this wasn’t the only room filled with love in my day. My intrepid Tuesday morning Bible study crew was with me as we continued plowing through the books of Kings in the Old Testament. These are hard stories, bloody battles and coups and rampant unfaithfulness to the God of Israel, who seems a more than a little cranky while meting out justice/punishment. I always remind the class that we have to read through the lens of the original storytellers, who had a view of the Almighty that was quite different than what we understand today. The best part of the morning for me, though, is talking about our lives during our study, and the prayer time at the end, and today was no exception. We’re all struggling with different challenges, but the genuine affection we share is helping to see us through.
Every day, we enter different rooms, right? Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens. Classrooms and office spaces and public transportation hubs. And we step in, not knowing what we will encounter. Yesterday, my Julie waited an hour on a Brooklyn subway platform, delayed because a gunman was terrorizing a car full of people down the line. Where was the love in THAT room?
It was clearly visible. People helped one another until medical aid could arrive, those brusque New Yorkers gently caring, refusing to let violence rule the day. And similar scenes are playing out in Ukraine--people risking all to rescue others. Trying not to let evil control the narrative. Allowing love to fill the room.
And so, my friends, as we wrestle with our mental health, as we grapple with the difficult books of our faith and share our personal stories, as we minister to one another in terrifying times: let us not forget to make room for love. When we do that, we are truly shining with the image of God that we are.
My Bible study friends Nancy and Jim introduced me to this song, yesterday morning, and it is the perfect way to frame this day, a day of challenge and pain. And, always, love.
Wishing you so much love, in all of your rooms.