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  • Writer's pictureRev. Dana Porter Ashton

On My Own...Not!

Updated: Sep 17, 2019

Blessings and Love. Today is September 11th – a day that will forever be engraved in our hearts and minds. A day that, regardless of race, gender, or belief, affected who we are as Americans. On this day, nearly 3000 innocent people lost their lives to a single terrorist attack that would take place over about a 2 hour time span. Like myself, I’m sure you can remember where you were the very moment the first plane flew into the first Tower and more than likely, each moment after that. To this day, 18 years later, I can still remember the sound of my staff calling out for me to come and look. To this day, 18 years later, I can still remember the looks on their faces as they waited to see my reaction and hear my response. To this day, 18 years later, I can still feel us huddled together around that little television screen (that they weren’t even supposed to have) in the cubicle of one of the workers. To this day, I can still remember hearing my supervisor, in her thick New York accent, leaving a message for her daughter to call her ASAP, her daughter worked close to the Towers. To this day, I can still remember me making phone calls to check on family members who worked at the Pentagon. To this day, I can still remember the decision to send my staff home so they could pick up their children. To this day, I can still remember going forward with attending a meeting that night, only to find us praying the entire time and lifting the families of the people who had perished and those who were still missing. I still remember.

Well, yesterday, I read about another Pastor, struggling with bouts of depression, ending the pain by taking his own life. I know to some, there is no comparison, but this time, I will step out, even if on my own, and say there is. Sometimes pain, hurt, depression, sadness, and all the other negative emotions, much like those four plane attacks, seem to come in waves of time. Sometimes it’s brief, while other times it feels like it will never end. Sometimes praying works and sometimes you need someone to hold you and tell you you’re not crazy. Sometimes reading and pulling on every scripture you can recall lifts you up and other times, the pain is so deep that the eyes are blurred and nothing comes to mind. That’s a true sign that you’re trying to do “life” on your own and it’s not working. So here’s the thing…..

As spiritual leaders, it’s time to take the giant “S” off of our chest and stop trying to be everything to everybody. As spiritual leaders, it’s time to put down everyone’s baggage, pick up our own, take it to a professional counselor and ask for help. Ask the counselor to help us unpack the pain and disappointment that WE have been pushing further and further to the back of our minds. Ask the counselor to help us unpack our old wounds that we’ve made ourselves believe are healed. Ask the counselor to allow you space and time to download old files saved to the floppy disk of our minds (that’s how old our hurt is). Ask for help and know that you are NOT on your own.

So my dear sister, today I beg you: Choose to live. Your life matters. Lift your head and push forward. Seek the help you really need and find peace in the land of the living. And never forget…YOU ARE NOT ON YOUR OWN!

You are loved. God loves you and so do we.

Rev. Dana

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