Words of the Week: August 25, 2020

August 24, 2020

You are not alone 

The following passage was written by Texas Children’s Chaplain James Denham

I watched a mother hold her baby for the first time last week, after some time waiting for this moment. It was absolutely mesmerizing and stirred something deep in my soul. Have you ever had something take your breath away and stop you in your tracks?  I hope so. It’s kind of beyond words.

Let me tell why this particular circumstance was so amazing to me. This mother, courageous and resilient, held her son and spoke to him words he had never heard – “No tenga miedo. (Don’t be afraid). No tenga miedo. (Don’t be afraid). Estoy aquí. (I am here little one.).”  Wow!  Her grip on her child was firm and the look, the maternal strength she imparted through her stare, spoke volumes. Even as I write this, I have goosebumps and am misty eyed because it is so beautiful.  As a parent, I longed to speak those words to my son and for my mom to speak them to me as soon as possible.

They mean even more to me this week.  A pandemic with a novel virus, a society desperate for equality and justice, a heated presidential election, and now two tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico?  Yes, this mother’s words ring true: “So not be afraid. I am here with you.”

Who is here with us?  Why should we not afraid?  For many, the answer to both of these questions lies in our spirituality and the profound grounding of faith in a God or love or something sacred that tells us fear is not our first response, although it is normal.  That spirituality tells us to lean in with courage to that which is greater than us, yet often intangible.  Namely, peace, or love, or God’s presence, or hope found in our common humanity, or the transcendence of nature.  We may feel worried, but these things ground us in the face of hard things and speak to us, “Don’t be afraid, you are not alone.”

Also, we have each other. Just as this mother held her baby and spoke with the one voice her son knew best, we hear the voices of many we love whose presence instills the truth, which is that they are here. Our parents, our children, our faith communities, our coworkers, our families, our mentors – all of them stand holding us speaking profoundly, don’t be afraid for I am walking with you. They wear masks with us.  They listen to us. They wade through rains with us. They calm our anxieties. They order food for us. They pray with us. They dive through research for us. They are here with us.  They are like a mother holding her baby, guiding him through the hard and long times, saying “Don’t be afraid. I am here with you.”

Know that you are that presence to me.  Know that you are that presence to others.  Hold on and hold each other.  We will make it together.