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Every once in a while, you stumble across a poem, a song or a story that makes a huge impact on your

Something in it speaks to you, invites you to take a moment to reflect on those specific words. In my case, it was a prayer. I found this prayer over a dozen years ago and since then have shared it with the hundreds of people I have worked with in creating change. Its called the “Prayer for Living in Tension '', by the Reverend Joseph M Cherry. It’s relatively short and simple - but packs a powerful punch!

“If we have any hope of transforming the world and changing ourselves, we must be bold enough to step into our discomfort, brave enough to be clumsy there, loving enough to forgive ourselves and others. May we, as a people of faith, be granted the strength to be so bold, so brave and so loving.”

As someone who has spent the last half of their life trying to engage others to create meaningful change - I found this prayer to be both motivation and salvation. I’ve used it to open meetings and repeated it to close the same meetings. It’s a reminder, I think, for those of us who are committed to creating change - that change doesn't come easily and it starts with us.

The simple truth is that change requires discomfort as well as a willingness to continue to learn, to act, and to be in relationship with ourselves and with others. And, we will succeed in creating that change (sometimes) and we will fail or fall short (often) as well. But that doesn’t give us the right to stop or to let fear overcome us.

This prayer is a constant reminder for me - maybe for all of us - as it provides the refuge, the grace, forgiveness or the salvation needed to keep on going in spite of our discomfort or fear. And maybe most importantly, that being loving and forgiving is an essential element of change.

Nowhere is this more evident than in the conversations we have with each other - in our personal lives, in our faith communities, in our organizations. The work around diversity, inclusion, culture, race, etc. is hard, its uncomfortable and so very very important. Reverend Cherry reminds us the way to approach and stay in these conversations is by being bold, brave and most of all loving.

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