I’ve not been sleeping well. The further I go in this State Rep race, the more corruption I see. In my life I’ve been challenged but not often daunted by the tasks I’ve faced. Now, every day, I feel like a child with a slingshot standing in front of a fully-armed giant.

Back in October when I was recruited to run I remember saying “But I’m not a politician.” My friends said “that’s why we need you. We need a real person to represent us.” And while I’ve had some amazing experiences and met many good, honest people, I’ve also learned why it’s so hard for real people to make it in politics. The system where money equals power is not designed for us. It’s designed for those with money, who want power, so they can make more money. Which of course gives them more power. Rinse and repeat.

But this story is not about the rich and powerful. This story is about real people and what happens when real people decide to come together in spite of their differences, in spite of their fears, in spite of their flaws. Last week I had the privilege of sitting in on a meeting in which Christian leaders representing virtually every denomination in this community focused their attention on what they had in common, which, as it turns out, is a lot. They agreed we’re facing big problems in the world right now, and they agreed that faith is the best way to solve them. So they came up with a plan to unite believers in this community not to protest, not to riot, not even to argue in civil conversation. But to pray.

Wednesday night we wore our masks and brought lawn chairs and gathered on the Franklin County Courthouse lawn. I saw babies, kids, teenagers, parents, and grandparents. People with compromised immune systems surrounded the area and stayed in their parked cars. Different churches contributed what they had–a sound system, music, tables, antibacterial gel. KDYN broadcasted. Television news crews were there. And all we did was pray.

If you are in law enforcement, we prayed for you. Military, we prayed for you. In health care? Essential worker? We prayed for you, too. We prayed for business owners, and public officials, and school people, and churches. We prayed for the sick, elderly, and children. If you are oppressed in any way, experiencing prejudice of any kind, hurt, disappointed, afraid–we prayed for you. And then we prayed for our country, the land we all love, on our knees. We asked for healing.

When we finished praying, the crowd stood to its feet and sang together: Amazing Grace. A cool breeze touched my face. I closed my eyes and listened to all of those voices rising together. It felt like a beginning. I heard freedom; I heard unity; I heard hope. How sweet the sound.

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