During the last soccer game of the season for one of our daughters, a young player was injured. As per the AYSO code of conduct, both teams immediately took a knee, respectfully giving her space and waiting to see what she needed. The month previous to this, the “Take a Knee” protests had begun. Some NFL players and owners knelt to emphasize racial injustice in America. There was endless banter back and forth between parties, many believing this protest disrespected the National Anthem.
Meanwhile, on a soccer field, filled with nine and ten-year-olds, taking a knee meant honoring someone else, giving them an empowered space, allowing them to have a moment to feel heard and understood.
During the Thomas Fire, all of Santa Barbara County was humbled. There was a hush as the fire moved closer towards Ojai, Ventura, Santa Paula, Carpinteria, Summerland, Montecito and then Santa Barbara. We took a knee in hopes that the elements of weather would turn, and lessen the intensity of the fire. We were not only humbled by the fierce power of nature, but taken aback by its force.
By the second week of the fire, businesses were closed, people were evacuated and all of the sweet communities mentioned above were in distress. We took a knee. We prayed for relief for the first responders. We hoped for homes to be protected. We watched, in disbelief and relented our human powers as the fire took charge.
By the years’ end, the fire was tapered down, Santa Barbara and surrounding cities seemed to have their natural hum again but only briefly. We took a knee when small local businesses were forced to close, due to so much loss of business in December. Our hearts broke for the numbers of people searching for places to live. We released our strong grip on controlling things as we saw the bare mountains surrounding our city, freshly ashed by devastation. We took a knee.
Less than one week after school finally resumed, after almost an entire month of schools being closed, Mother Nature threw another curveball our way. At 2:00a.m., an explosive storm attacked Santa Barbara county, bringing more rain in five minutes time, than any fire-scarred mountain could withstand. Without much warning, the mudslides began. Boulders the size of trucks were pushed down the hill, towards a community of people, fast asleep. By 4:00 a.m., another monsoon of water relentlessly poured down, and with this, streams overflowed, Highway 101 became a basin of mud. Over a hundred homes were lost, swept away with the debris flooding down the mountain towards the Pacific.
We were stunned. We were demobilized. We took a knee, and we surrendered. Names of those who lost their lives that night were released. Our hearts broke. Names of those missing elevated our anxiety. Names of those people and families whose homes no longer stood standing, left us without words. We took a knee, we bowed down, we pressed our palms together and we held our hearts as we tried to grasp the monstrosity of both of the fire and the flood.
So, we surrendered. And we took a prayerful pause.
Then, we activated. Because surrendering doesn’t mean turning away. Surrendering doesn’t mean letting go of what matters. Surrendering doesn’t mean bowing down, and giving up. Surrendering means letting go so we can be peaceful and free.
We have taken a knee so many times these past few months, in honor and reverence of what has been out of our control.
In an attempt to be peaceful and free, we surrender to what is now. Thus, our heartwork begins.
SPOTLIGHT: Please see the following link for the SB Support Network, (http://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e4daeac22a5f58-must) to see how you can activate your gifts and resources to help the people impacted by these recent events. Our surrendering is greater than any other super power we might have.