I was at the coast all of last week.
It was amazing and I was reminded why I do what I do.
This coming December is a big month for me.
It will mark 5 years since I Jomo and I accidentally started JORE Consulting.
Some of you may not have heard that story…but the short version is that just after the 2016 election – a bunch of my white friends were “waking up to a nation they didn’t recognize” and asked for help to understand. Three weeks later we began hosting groups of white people to talk about how the story of race was impacting every area of our lives.
December will also mark one year since Jomo transitioned to ancestor and gained his full freedom.
Both journeys have completely changed me.
Returning to the coast was an opportunity to keep grieving and to imagine what’s possible for the season ahead.
One morning, I hiked up to God’s Thumb which begins by climbing straight up for what feels like f o r e v e r.
It’s probably something embarrassing like 1/2 of a mile but my legs were burning and my heart nearly said “no thanks, I’m out.”
But I can often see past the momentary struggle when I imagine the kinds of vistas that await me if I just stick to it.
This photo is from the tip of the earth.
But to get there, it required what I’ll affectionately call the “hill of death”, followed by valleys and few more peaks, and the determination to keep going even as the path became a tightrope on a ridgeline where one wrong step in either direction would have been very bad.
I sat at the top for a while.
Watched the waves. The lizards eating lunch. The sun climbing to its own peak in the sky.
And then it was time to travel down.
Only the return journey is rarely straight down.
Those valleys that brought reprieve coming up, were now hills to climb as I traveled the other direction.
And every single person I met on the path once I was coming down the “hill of death” asked me…
“Is it worth it?”
I couldn’t help but connect this to the journey we are on together.
At the beginning of our journey to understand how race is impacting every part of our lives, it’s like a steep climb.
It’s super disorienting, confusing, and maddening to realize how disillusioned we’ve been for so long. It’s also painful to realize for the first time, the amount of harm our obliviousness has caused.
And I was struck by truth this hike represented…….if all of the white people who’ve climbed the “hill of death” stay up on the mountaintop, we’ll never be able to answer the cry “is it worth it?”. And I believe we need to be ready with an answer and position ourselves in the very places where this question is being asked.
Today, I have the honor of journeying with lots of people who are in various places of the journey but I’m committed to keep returning from the mountaintop of what I imagine we could become to find those who need reassurance.
“It’s definitely worth it and you’re on the hardest part of the climb…keep going…I’m with you.”
We need each other if we have any hope of a more just future.
I’m committed to our collective liberation.
Gathering up those who need encouragement.
Returning to the bottom of the hill to point up and ask “will you come with me on a journey?”
And vulnerably asking those who’ve traveled this way before me “is it worth it?” when I feel exhausted, sad, or scared that we won’t risk everything to be the kinds of people we say we want to be and build the kind of world where everyone belongs.
I’m back home and I’m comforted by the rain which every part of life needs and is nourished by.
And I’m back at my computer.
Journeying with people who are all trying to be good neighbors.
Because it’s a journey that’s worth it.