a peace prayer for political trauma

In the United States this week, tensions are running high, fear is running deep. Last night as I was going to bed I remembered a moment from 3+ years ago when I was at a multi-faith leaders gathering at the Colorado Legislature and one of my favorite representatives, Joe Salazar, shared how he would stop advocating so strongly, so passionately, so loudly, when “this administration stopped terrorizing its citizens.” 

The past 4 years have been tough on the soul. 

We’ve watched the dismantling of so many protections for immigrants, LGBTQ+, our planet, low-income families and almost anyone who is not a white middle class person without a pre-existing condition. Day after day the tweets, the “how can this be real?” cringing, the relentless name calling and blaming and shaming and bullying and flagrant racism while almost their entire political party stands by and lights the flame to the gaslight. While our president declares that we’ve turned the corner on COVID, my friends’ parents keep dying and our community keeps suffering to keep its members’ safe at great sacrifice and we keep hearing the leading scientists in the world be called “idiots.”

It’s exhausting. 

It’s disgusting. 

It’s traumatizing.

Now, as we enter this election week where on the whole there are good protected systems in place in most states, there’s a systematic dismantling of faith in it as well as downright violence—trucks running people off roads, voter suppression, and a media campaign that is inciting fear and anxiety in so many. The United States is a hot mess right now, and while I am incredibly proud of the tireless community organizers, voter advocates, social justice lawyers, and ordinary activists who have been fighting so hard for so long for change, it is still a very tenuous time. 

We’re all feeling it. 

Today, as the hours click by, I wrote a short prayer for me, for us. We all pray differently, we all believe differently, but for those of us anxious and afraid today, I hope there’s something in here that brings a little peace.

God, Spirit at Work in the World,

We are tired.

We are weary.

We are disinformation-ed out.

We are holding on to hope for a change, but hope feels dangerous.

We want to believe in the good of humanity, but we are shocked by the magnitude of the vile.

We want to trust that basic dignity will prevail, but we’ve seen it erode.

But today, despite all the “buts”, we choose to anchor into the bigger story of Peace.

Peace that doesn’t come from trite words or things going our way.

Peace that comes from honoring justice never comes comfortably or easily. 

Peace in realizing that never before have this many people been activated to vote.

Peace in remembering we are part of a long story, intricately tied into the slow and laborious work of social change.

Peace in looking up at the heavens and recognizing the vastness of God’s creation and our small part in the endless story.  

Peace in looking down at the earth and seeing our feet anchored into ground that’s filled with a long legacy of survival, of hope, of humans taking the next right step.

Peace in the wild ways of Jesus that don’t make sense to the empire but we know are worth living for.

Peace in the solidarity of kindred spirits who are weary, tired, and trying to be hopeful, too.

Peace in the remembering that there leaders across every faith, industry, shape, and size, who are leading humbly, compassionately, and justly despite the angst. 

Peace in dedication to integrated peace-making–not false peace-keeping–and recognizing that we can’t stay silent no matter the cost.

Peace in the simple things—a cup of cold water, passing on a kindness, a mask, a checking in on a struggling friend.

Peace that can’t be robbed by a tweet, a ridiculous threat, a narcissistic bully, a social media post, or a comment that makes you question a friendship.

Peace that isn’t checking out this week but is actually checking in—being present, feeling all the feels, honoring why it’s so hard, respecting the toll this keeps taking. 

Peace that prompts us to keep doing absolutely everything we can to keep working for peace.

God, Spirit at Work in the World,

Help us anchor in Peace this week.

With you in love and hope from Colorado today.

Kathy Escobar

Kathy Escobar is dedicated to creating safe and brave spaces for transformation and healing in real life and online. She co-pastors at The Refuge, a Christian community and mission center in North Denver and is the author of Practicing: Changing Yourself to Change the World, Faith Shift: Finding Your Way Forward When Everything You Believe is Coming Apart and several other books.

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