Below, a Life Together Fellow who attended LDI's November 12th Collective Call to Action reflects on the experience of the workshop. If you feel inspired by this story, please share on social media, and stay tuned for opportunities to get involved with LDI!
For the past four years, I have clung to the words from John 8:1-11 about the woman caught in adultery. As a survivor of sexual assault, I found strength in the message that Jesus sees the entire person, especially women, as more than their sexuality. So when I saw that this Gospel story would be the central focus for the LDI training on November 12, I was eager to explore this text more, albeit in theoretical conversations about community organizing and social justice, nothing actually pertaining to me.
At the LDI training, we spent the morning learning how faith communities unite our internal spiritual selves with external groups. Working in a church, it is so much easier to only focus on the external—the events, the sermons, the community outreach—while ignoring the internal side of reconciliation. I had two separate circles with the church floating in the No Man’s Land in between.
I believe that is why the guided meditation impacted me so much. During the meditation, Lydia prompted us to think of “home” and to imagine Jesus standing with us there. My heart instantly jumped to the University of Virginia Campus, but my mind wanted to resist. In August, I left Virginia for Boston with no intention of looking back. I wanted geographical distance to equal mental distance; I believed that if I threw myself into serving other people, it would make me whole. But on that Saturday, I felt the presence of Christ as we took a mental walk around Charlottesville and a deep sense of reconciliation—with myself and with my past. And I felt something in my soul loosen, and my heart opened up to rejoin the two divided spheres. Going forth, my relationship with external communities was emboldened and strengthened by that internal work, and I found I could listen more deeply and love others more fully when I also listened to and loved myself.