Let Us Give Thanks for the Whistleblowers

Let us give thanks
for the whistleblowers / of our faith:
express our gratitude, as deep and pure
as the underground lakes / of the world.
Let us breathe in their pain / and exhale 
our sensitivities, opening / our arms wide enough
for all the worlds / that be.

Let us grieve too, for those
who have been lost. For those
who left / because of the mistakes
of the many. Grieve / for our sisters
and our siblings who went looking / elsewhere
for belonging, not / finding it here.
Let us grieve for our own pain, as oppressions
come between us, as sharp
as broken glass, and as invisible
to those who aren’t / paying attention.

Choosing to leave,
—to heal, to protect yourself—
is sacred, and is something many / of us must do.
But let us give all the more thanks, then
for those / who stay, and those
who come back. Let us give thanks
for the poor people / and indigenous people
and the trans people: for those
who chose to stay / in conversation,
lifting stifled / voices in rooms
of hostility. Let us give thanks
for our whistleblowers, who gave / themselves
for our faith—fools, all of us
for martyring ourselves / for a dream,
for this dream, for congregations
who have hurt us / too many times
to count, for the cracked / and broken path
we tread / that we hope / will lead
to Beloved Community: to that place
we have never seen, and yet still / pursue,
that rainbow / that touches the ocean’s
horizon, a distant gleam / of the acceptance
we have never / found.

Let us give thanks
for those who chose / to be angry
rather than leave, for those
who put their broken hearts / into words,
for those who challenged / our institutions
and our leaders / when they erred
—as we all err.

Let us give thanks for their love,
for without them—without / us—
we would know nothing / of it.

Note: In this piece the author draws on her experiences of being a whistleblower in UU spaces: of calling out oppression, and working to make UU congregations more inclusive to all kinds of people. Being a whistleblower even in a small way can bring social costs (like being labelled a disturber of the peace, or feeling like you and/or any marginalized groups you belong to aren't wanted in your congregation as you are); however, like all of the difficult caring conversations we must partake in on this path toward Beloved Community and radical inclusion, calling out oppression and working toward a better future is also an act of incredible importance and love.