faith, queer, resources

A prayer for a misused name/pronoun

By Rev Naomi Miller, Church of the Apostles, Guelph. Thank you, Rev. Miller, for letting me share this here!

Image description: As we celebrate Pride Month, it may be that someone you know and love has asked you to address them by a new name, or to speak about them using different pronouns. These changes in language can be difficult–especially because so much of our relational language is gendered. Mistakes happen. And trying (again) matters. God so often calls people by name. And throughout scripture, names have special significance. To call someone by the correct name is an act of love, as is using correct pronouns. When we get it wrong, advice from transgender advocates is: Don’t make it about you and how hard it is to change. Just apologize, correct, and carry on. Then practice, and get it right next time.

O God,

You know me by my name.

You know <name> by <pronoun> name.

Let the words I use when I speak to <name> and about <pronoun> show my love for <pronoun>.

essays, Mental health

You deserve the help you need

No amount of busyness or responsibility cures clinical depression, anxiety disorders, or neurodivergence. I believe people when they say they “just” needed (a kid, a partner, a job change, spirituality, a move) and now they feel better. But that’s not a cure for our disorders.

Sometimes in life, we do need a change. Whether it’s a weekly “me time” or a crosscountry move or a new business, change can be good. But you cannot outrun your disorder. You can’t out-schedule it or out-perform it or out-laugh it. You can’t fill your life with enough people. You can only face it. Discover your values. Accept what you have been given and commit to living according to those values. Set your boundaries, and unravel your shame. Deconstruct and reconstruct and get help from people qualified and trustworthy to give it.

The only way is through. The only way is honesty with yourself and your past, present, and future. It takes lament and commitment, feeling the pain and not avoiding and learning to be whole while shattered. There is no easy out or clever trick or shortcut.

We take our meds and pay for the help we can afford and research, listen, and grow. We do what’s healthy for us emotionally, mentally, and physically. Knowing sometimes it will be a choice between one or the other. And we forgive ourselves and keep going when we hurt ourselves. We can’t outsmart it, but we find balance in the tumult. Slowly, over time. Like a raging river wearing on a rock.

We pray, “just enough for today, God.” That’s all we need. To keep breathing another day. and eventually, it is easier to breathe some days.

But we never graduate from this. We never achieve enough or get promoted out of a disorder. We can make it work and learn to live with it and do things to reduce it. But those are done in humility, with the step of facing it, saying I cannot hide in fake fine. If you are struggling this month, this year, this lifetime. It’s not too late and it’s not too early. You don’t have to wait until you hit the bottom. You don’t have a lack of will or spiritual weakness or identity of failure; you have a disability.

I don’t know that I’m there yet to be proud of my disabilities, but this #DisabilityPrideMonth, please don’t let anyone tell you that you just haven’t tried hard enough or are not busy enough or have too much time on your hands. You deserve the help you need.