Thou Art With Me: A Lenten Reflection from Yani Burgos of Episcopal City Mission

I went for a walk around my neighborhood in Quincy recently after one of the many winter storms. A bit above freezing, I felt the warmth of the cloudless sky on my head, through my hat. There was debris of various kinds among the slowly melting mounds of snow - trash not collected, hunks of branches, ‘for sale’ and ‘for rent’ signs from houses.

As I walked, a trash bin bounced with the wind and landed right on the street, and I couldn’t help but laugh. It stood right next to the curb, as though holding a parking spot for a vehicle not yet arrived.

Picking up the trash bin and moving it closer to its home, I wondered what the impact of this simple action would be. Would it end up back out on the street after I turned my back? Did it belong at that house at all? Will the wind pick it back up to explore new space altogether? I smirked at what felt like such strange questions and kept moving - it just felt clear that something had to be done.

Although small, my interaction with the bouncing bin has moved me to wonder...what would it take to trust that, like the bin, my very being will be supported by community? By God? So often, I make the choice to be guarded and closed, struggling alone, in the interest of self-protection - or to not burden another. And I have also felt the warmth of a helping hand when life throws unexpected curveballs. As we continue to move through Holy Week, I am pushing myself to remember that even on the coldest, windiest of days, thou art with me.

------------------------------

After being introduced to community organizing as a teenager, Yani Burgos has committed her life to community-led social change. For the last 10 years, she has explored how might different communities work together to build power, particularly among folks of color and LGBTQ+ communities. Prior to Episcopal City Mission, she worked with Mothers Out Front, supporting the mobilization of mothers, grandmothers, and other caregivers to ensure a swift transition away from fossil fuels. Yani received a BA in American Studies and Government from Smith College. She lives in Quincy, and enjoys finding innovative ways to use a slow cooker, chanting on the beach at sunrise, and searching for the latest and greatest in sneaker fashion trends.

Email: yani@episcopalcitymission.org