Honoring Grief & Outrage; Trusting the Promise of Healing by Debbie Clark

Dear friends,


This afternoon I am going to be one of the “Community Partners” supporting teachers and staff in the Framingham Public Schools, as they gather in the wake of the mass shootings that have happened in the past two weeks. The request for me to be part of this gathering emerges out of the decades of trust-building that has happened through the Nourishing Teachers-Strengthening Classrooms project and, more recently, our Training Active Bystanders initiative. In times of crisis, and in ordinary times of the everyday challenges of teachers, students, and staff, school leaders see Open Spirit as a trusted partner.


I am so honored to be included in this gathering. And I am overwhelmed and daunted by the prospect. I cannot imagine what it is like to be a teacher or a school administrator this week. I don’t have many words of wisdom to share. In the end, of course, it is not about the words we say; it is about being present, listening, and responding.


In the absence of words of wisdom, I will bring Jeannie the fluffy poodle. Maybe today it will be about dog treats and tummy rubs… Maybe next week it will be about strategizing how to bring about long-term change so we don’t have to keep trying to explain inexplicable hate and horror to our children.


In my Tuesday morning yoga class yesterday, I began a series focusing on different versions of lovingkindness meditations, inspired by the Buddhist practice. One of the lines in the version we used Tuesday is “May all beings trust in the promise of healing.” For me, right now, this is such a crucial hope/prayer. It’s too early to even imagine what healing looks like--for parents who have lost a child, for towns whose sense of security has been shattered, for communities overwhelmed by the hate directed at them, for our nation with such deep divisions. It’s not too early to hold out trust that healing is possible, even when we don’t know how it can happen or what form it will take.


The Multi-Faith Collaborative is working on a plan to offer a series of healing circles at Open Spirit. In the coming weeks and months, we will gather to acknowledge the wide range of emotions that have been stirred, to listen deeply and speak boldly, to awaken our capacity for compassion and courage. Watch for more details in the coming days.


Peace, Debbie