A Full Plate

Full Plate reflections by Lesley-Ann Hix

I’ve felt really tired lately.  Just exhausted.  And I haven’t been able to figure out where it’s coming from.  I don’t feel overworked.  There’s a lot going on, but I’m giving myself permission to not have to be a part of every little thing.  I don’t know where the tiredness is coming from, but I keep retreating to my room to hole away with Parenthood for a few hours every day.

I told Greg about it the other day.  I told him that I couldn’t figure out why I felt so thin.  He said he has been feeling the same way lately.  Must be something in the water.

“I haven’t been writing,” I told him.  “Usually I’m writing all the time.  But right now when I come across a few spare, quiet moments, all I can do is collapse.  There’s so much whirling around that I have no mental capacity once it all finally settles.  There’s no space to reflect or pray or hope because the space that is filled is too heavy.”

He told me a story about a minister guy visiting a community very similar to the Family Tree.  After touring the space and neighborhood, this guy told his host that if he lived and worked there, he would have to limit his working hours to 30 per week (as opposed to 40 or more).  He said it was because he would quickly lose himself in it.  The story and work was just so high impact that he would wear out quickly if he did not build in that boundary space to replenish himself.

I spent the rest of that day with my soul sister, Kelia.

A couple days later a friend from seminary was interviewing me for our school’s magazine.  She asked me about our hospitality emphasis here.  “You mentioned a revolving door,” she said.  “Why is that?  What does that mean?”  I thought about it for a second, explaining that we do our best to offer radical hospitality, dropping everything if someone comes to the door.  We listen to what they need, and we respond as best as we can.  Then the pieces all started to come together, and I understood why I was so tired and why sharing meals was so important.

Racial reconciliation drew me to this place.  But it is also the part of the journey that weighs heavy on me.  A ministry of reconciliation is confusing, provocative and Spirit-filled.  It involves patience, building trust and deep listening.  It means searching for justice.  It means practicing truthtelling and being willing to sit in the wounds of oppression.  But there is no step-by-step guide on how to do that.  There’s no way to know if you’re doing it right.  And the journey gets tiring really fast.  We don’t have any idea how to take on all the pains and right the wrongs, though we desperately wish we could.  But we do know how to invite you to dinner, or give you a place to stay, or invite you in and talk and listen with you.  That’s all we know how to do.  And we know we are at least supposed to do that.  So when reconciliation is too confusing and hard, we can at least do that.  The good news is that the journey of reconciliation is deepened by mutually shared space.  And the other good news is that God is ever at work, even when we’re tired.  So we can rest in the assurance that sharing a meal is exactly the way to redeemed life.