By Rose J. Percy
I love my friends and still, sometimes, I run and hide from their love. I am afraid to look into their eyes and see the truths that keep me here. Stuck, behind these walls with the cracked foundation of hyper-independence. I want to share my feelings with them, hidden behind a code. But they look past it, and ask a simple question: How can we be here for you?
I let out a sigh.
I often call them “prayer-sighs,” since I know there are breaths lined with petitions.
I think about that verse, “where two or three are gathered.” It used to come up when church folks were trying to encourage people at an event with low attendance. These days, “two or three” is all the church I need.
“Two or three” is all it takes to feel deep love and community. “Two or three” in the group chats, the zoom meetings, or the car, while I am crying into my hands.
God is there.
I do not always have the capacity to believe there is good in the world. But I can sooner find the hope to believe in the goodness of my friends.
God is here.
I have friends who say, “you deserve, period.” They write letters, send flowers and candy on days that are not my birthday or a holiday. Friends who share their sage wisdom across the harsh internet streets to communicate warmth and hope.
God is here.
I know, I’m sentimental, but I love being swept off my feet by the love of my friends. I have embraced the idea of platonic romance in friendship, in part because I am single. I refuse to believe that one must be partnered to experience abundant love rooted in reciprocity.
God is here (now). We are here, too.
This season has given me many reasons to want to hide my face and I have. I have found that words aren’t coming to me when I am asked: How can we be here for you? My mind races and all I can think is “It’s too much. It’s all too much.” I have learned to respond to stress and survival with ingenuity and cleverness. With my hands, I have cultivated many different skills to secure a sense of competence in the world. But in a world of increasing calamity, these hands are tired of holding it all together. Today, I might let them be held. I might let myself be gathered by the love of my friends.
I will turn to my friends and abandon my evasive code, hold silence in my bones and share all I can find words for. I will try to remember what I know so well, there is a love that erodes myths of self-sufficiency and self-sacrifice. A love that waters my belief in the community care we all deserve.
I know they will ask me again: How can we be here for you?
I will let out a prayer-sigh and say, “Where should I begin?”
A holy conversation
Words in dialogue with breaths
Subtle reminders of life persisting
I am s/weeping
Lines of dust away from the
Dreams I am weaving when
My mind is quiet enough to let them
From the mention of messing up
That you can just let me be (here)
Wholeness is a dream we weave
strong enough for those
carrying the load
of rest in their hopes
Rose J. Percy (she/her) hosts a podcast called “Dear Soft Black Woman,” which centers conversations on rest as vocation. Rose is also a facilitator at Quni Community, a nonprofit network that seeks to co-create sacred spaces for disabled BIPOC, queer/trans BIPOC and BIWOC. Rose holds a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology, as well as a B.A. in Religion and Social Justice. Born in Les Cayes, Haiti, and raised in Pawtucket, RI, Rose is passionate about connecting issues of identity, social justice, theology, and ethics to personal narrative.