Blue fades seamlessly into blue as water and sky meet. The sun sets over the Puget Sound, and my time here sets too. I sit in a candlelit room filled with buzzing conversations. The thick of happy hour surrounds the liminal space I hold. I have just completed two years of training in narrative focused trauma care at The Allender Center. Now, I sit in this lounge, sensing the reality of “what was” and the question of “what’s next” within me. In this in-between place, I hold onto goodness.
The goodness of a brick building located at the intersection of Elliott and Wall, where warmth blazes from the rich red exterior to the seasoned sages inside. They blaze with wisdom, speaking of Faith, Hope, and Love, and invite us to join them in the refining fire, where redemption is born.
Redemption looks like a phoenix rising from the ashes of death. She unfurls her newly discovered wings, and we are honored to serve as her witnesses.
It looks like a flowing river that has meandered out of the shadows and into the light. He invites us to join him in refreshing waters that bring truth, tenderness, and life.
It rises like a tree, deeply rooted over time, with branches reaching for the heavens. She offers shelter and solace and blossoms with vibrant beauty that captivates us all.
It glimmers like a flame—once scarcely a phantom flicker, now kindled into an expansive fire. She radiates warmth and offers illumination, learning to trust that she will not be extinguished.
None of these transformations happened in an instant. No, they evolved over time as courageous souls and kindred spirits entered into the darkness of death in a search for life. Many of us had been moving in these shadowlands for a long, solitary season. Then, we came together, and in community, we engaged in the sacred work of naming loss, harm, and suffering, and experienced the holy gift of listening well, speaking truthfully, and grieving freely. Through naming what was, we discovered what is meant to be.
C.S. Lewis once said, “There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.” This became abundantly clear as we honored one another with our stories and blessed one another with our words. Our shadow selves retreated, and prophets, priests, kings, and queens emerged.
Faith was rekindled, as we learned to name and bless our God-given identities. Hope returned, like tiny sprouts growing from the freshly watered ground, giving us an imagination for what’s to come. Love increased as we risked opening our hearts to one another, to goodness, and to redemption. And in a fellowship anchored in Faith, Hope, and Love, we blessed each other, said goodbye, and moved into the unknown.
Nearby voices interrupt my reflection, and I notice that the sky and water have darkened to steely gray. It is time for me to go home. I step out of the candlelit sanctuary into the cool Seattle night, and I breathe in the now familiar scent of the Puget Sound. It fills my body and quickens my heart with a felt sense of what this time and place have meant to me. I leave carrying its goodness with me, holding the faces of those who have honored me with their stories, and treasuring the flame that has been kindled within me. I will carry it home, trusting that it is bright enough now to light my way.
A lover of story, Susan Tucker has always been captivated by beautiful writing. She is drawn to themes of tension, joy/grief, hope/loss, freedom/shame, which she explores in her own writing. Susan spends her days teaching middle school English, mothering her two teenage sons, and loving her husband of 25 years. She cherishes her first cup of coffee each morning, moments of quiet and solitude, restorative yoga, worship music, and faithful friends.nbsp