a beat down and a benediction.

I can’t remember the last week I worked fewer than 55 or 60 hours, or a night I haven’t taken my laptop home after official work hours have ended.

A new job and an old one, both that need to be done, one for the day-to-day and one for the future. And every day for at least the last week, we’ve encountered a new and totally unexpected obstacle in passing the CPCA, a bill my team at work has been working on for almost 2 years. Partisan politics. Petty behavior. Mistakes and miscommunications. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

So I’m just tired. And so stories from the field have been affecting even more deeply. A ten-year-old gives birth to a child of rape, and I cannot stop myself from crying, at work and in bed later that night and the next morning on the train to work.

And certainly that’s the appropriate response. To weep and cry out to the heavens. But it’s not a response that allows me to get up and come to work every morning. It’s a balancing act––allowing myself to sit deeply in the injustice and evil we encounter and yet keeping myself distant enough that I can come to work everyday without feeling entirely beleaguered and beaten down.

This benediction, tucked in my memory, resurfaces. Resurfaces and gives me new life.

A Franciscan Benediction

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships so that you may live deep within your heart.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation, and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done.

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