“Dear Despair…” : A Love Letter

Last Monday, driving home after dinner, I tuned in to Terry Gross’ interview with Father Greg Boyle on Fresh Air “Priest Responds to Gang Members’ ‘Lethal Absence of Hope’ with Jobs, And Love.”

Although I got home 10 minutes after I tuned in, I sat in my driveway for the next half an hour because I couldn’t turn it off.

I thought I would use this Thanksgiving blog post to make you aware—if you haven’t heard it already—of this beautiful interview with the Priest who founded Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.

It was hard for me to choose my favorite moments from the piece but I have included, below, a few of the things Father Boyle said that took my breath away:

“We always say at Homeboy if you don’t transform your pain, you’re just going to keep transmitting it.”

“Even gang violence itself is a language. You want to – well, what language is it speaking? You know, it’s not about the flying of bullets. It’s about a lethal absence of hope. So let’s address the despair.”

“The stance is humility….. If you’re humble, you’ll ask the poor, what would help you? But if you’re led by hubris, then you tell the poor, here’s what your problem is; here’s how you fix yourself.”

“My mantra at the moment is, resting in you, resting in me. And I kind of breathe it in, and I breathe it out. Actually a homie taught me that one.”

“But you’re not praying for some outcome, you know? You’re trying to, you know, step into this – into the wideness of God, you know, this amazing, merciful, spacious and expanse of God. And then all of a sudden, because you’re praying, because you’re bringing this consciousness to the group, everybody is experiencing the tender glance of God in that moment. And then you feel animated to leave each other’s presence and to be that tender glance in the world.”

I hope that reading a few of these thoughts has inspired to listen to the interview over your Thanksgiving holiday.

As for things I give thanks for, one of them is you—I so appreciate your time, your notes, and your continued support.

With all my very best wishes for your happy Thanksgivings!