It’s been forever since I’ve written anything, which is the result of a number of factors. Being too busy during finals at Candler turned into being too busy with Chanel’s graduation/moving her out from Wake which turned into being too busy prepping my paper for the Baptist History and Heritage Conference which turned into being too busy being at the Baptist History and Heritage Conference which turned into being too busy getting repacked to come to Healing Springs Acres for the summer which turned into me being too busy working at Healing Springs Acres, which is now just compounded by the fact that I have no internet or consistent cell service at the farm. So, I’m writing from the library in Denton. It may be the last thing you hear from me in a while, or I may try to make this a weekly thing to try to keep a running update of what’s going on with the farm.
I’m writing this because what’s on my mind today is the same thing that’s been on everybody’s mind for the past week: Orlando. I was rudely awakened Sunday morning by my phone going off repeatedly, in one of those rare moments when I had service, catching up on all the AP updates from the night before. As I scrolled through the list of notifications, I watched the death toll rise and the eventual revelation that the shooting had occurred at a gay bar. I turned on NPR (my only consistent link to the outside world) and listened as a now too-familiar narrative played out.
Hatred and violence toward LGBTQ persons is simply unacceptable in any form. To see the names of people who were just out living their lives to the fullest, having fun on the weekend, listed among the dead, is heartbreaking. But, what can we do? In the face of seemingly insurmountable hate, how can we stand? Prayers and solidarity are important, but action is also necessary. As I sat alone on this farm, cut off from the world, I couldn’t think what I could possibly do. I didn’t even have a means of reaching out to friends from the LGBTQ community. I stand with you, and I love you, but I also feel as though I need to do something. But, what could I do?
I did all I could do: I went to work.
Monday as I rode the tractor down to the field, I approached planting with a new sense of purpose. Hope feels as though it’s in short supply these days, but, out there in the dust and the dirt, with the sun beating down and sweat running down my face, as I made pass after pass with the planter, hope was growing with every seed I put in the ground. I have no way to get to Orlando, I have no means to help directly in response to what’s happened. But I can plant seeds. Seeds of hope. Seeds of love. Seeds that will, before summer’s end, yield food for those who have none. I can’t offer much, but I can do my part to bring a little love and justice into this world. To make it a little brighter for someone who can currently only see darkness and hopelessness.
In the face of what feels like a never-ending torrent of headlines telling of death and destruction around the world, it’s hard not to feel helpless. But, if we can stand up in the face of hate and respond with radical unrestrained love, doing whatever we can to brighten the world just a little bit, there will always be hope.