When Mourning Leads to Action

Sorrow, anger, fear, devastation... these were all feelings that I have experienced in the days following the attack on Pulse Nightclub in Orlando.  And while friends and family have offered support and a listening ear in the days since, I am still left mourning.  I did not personally know any of the victims of the attack, but I mourn none-the-less.  I mourn for the loss of so many young, vibrant, LGBTQ+ people of color.  I mourn for a world which will not know the realization of their dreams.  I mourn for the loss of "safe space" that Pulse was for the LGBTQ+ Orlando community.  I mourn because we as a nation can't seem to keep ourselves from pointing fingers - at Muslims, at Christians, at the NRA, at Democrats, at Republicans, at whomever we can blame to make ourselves feel better or feel righteous or feel non-complicit.  I mourn for those who will live with increased fear - because they wear a hijab, because they hold the hand of their same-sex partner, because their name might sound like it is of Middle-eastern origins, because they present in a way which does not align to the gender binary.  I mourn.

But if my mourning were to fade, and my days go on unchanged, something great would have been missed.  Our mourning of this terrible attack must lead us to action.  And while we at the Darst Center will not suggest what action YOU might be called to as you consider the events of the past week, we would like to share what actions the Center is called to:

- we will be a Center where vibrant people, young and old, can express their thoughts, beliefs, and opinions in civil discourse without fear

- we will be a Center which honors the dignity of all people, especially mindful of those on the margins of society

- we will be a Center which is a safe space for all who enter our doors

- we will be a Center which challenges the status quo and encourages people to "see it differently"

- we will be a Center where reflection, prayer, and meditation create space for organizing, planning, and action - all in the pursuit of justice.

In the Book of Ecclesiastes, the author, Qoheleth, reminds us in an oft-quoted passage that there is a "time for every affair under the heavens" (Ecc 3:1).  Of each of the "times" presented, a juxtaposing "time" follows.  My prayer, for myself, for the LGBTQ+ community, for the Latin@ community, for the Muslim community, for the visitors to the Darst Center, and for all those who live in fear - for whatever reason - is that once we have completed "a time to mourn," our call to action will awaken, once again, "a time to dance" (Ecc 3:4).  
Live Jesus in our Hearts... Forever.


- Keith Donovan, Executive Director