Over the last year when we are in town, Lauren and I have had the privilege and honor to be a part of the Wednesday morning meditation circle with our survivor sisters of Thistle Farms. This circle has become a sacred place in my life. Every Wednesday morning, this circle is held and every Wednesday morning, my soul beckons me back to that space. It is a breath of fresh air midst a dark and polluted world.
Isn’t it interesting how sometimes you can go to church and not feel connected at all to people or Jesus and then you can sit with women in a room, who have gone through hell and high water, and feel closer to Jesus than you have ever felt in your life? That is how it is every week during meditation. These women have become my church and this church has no walls.
These sisters have survived and overcome addiction, prostitution, sex trafficking, homelessness, deaths, relapses-you name it and they have gone through it. I look up to each and every one of them-not because their “story” of overcoming is any greater than the next person-but because they have taught me how to grieve. They have taught me that it is ok to not be ok. It is ok to be shaking with anger over the fact that a sister or friend has relapsed. It is ok to be overcome with tears over the fact that a loved one has lost their child. And it is absolutely ok to not say anything at all because sometimes grief has no words.
But equally so, they have taught me that hope can coincide with grief. That even in the midst of absolute heart destruction, hope is standing by your side. Because hope is not an emotion. No, hope resides in the candle we light at the beginning of every meditation as a reminder to pray for the ones still out on the streets. Hope resides in the sisters who have overcome and are still standing in the circle today. Hope resides in the serenity prayer we say at each meditation-knowing we do not have to figure it all out because Jesus has our backs. And yours too. Even on the streets. Hope resides in our community coming back to the circle, week after week, to remind each other that love truly is the most powerful force for change in the world.
This chorus came to me during meditation a few months ago when a sister was talking about how we all walk through our own "gates of hell" but not one person's pain is greater than the next, that pain is the great equalizer within humanity because we all experience it at some point in our lives. I was so struck by her statement and then this chorus floated into my head:
"I'll leave a light on for you.
Arms open wide to hold all you've been through.
When your walking through gates of hell,
you come stumbling through,
I'll be waiting for you."
After months of not being able to shake these words (and with the help of Jilian Linklater) Leave A Light On is finally finished. And I dedicate it to all of my survivor sisters. The ones who have taught me how to live Love and be Love. The ones who have left the light on for me even in my mess and have taught me to do that same for others. I love you ladies with all my heart. Thank you for being my modern day heroes.