When Your Work is the Loosening of Chains


Come to Me … I will give you rest.

Jesus makes this invitation; an invitation I desperately need. He offers a place to lay down my burdens and find ease, comfort and belonging. Did he know, when he said these words 2,000 years ago, that a work-from-home mom, a woman craving justice, an emerging voice for truth, would be sitting at her dining room table, hunched over her computer, bone tired and weeping for a soft place to land? Did he know about me, even then?

These last few weeks have been hard. I am feeling the weight of so many things. As a Metis woman, at this time in Canada, I feel the weight of generations of grief and violence coupled with the knowledge that very little has changed or improved for Indigenous people here, or anywhere, since the realization of the harm of colonization.

Right now, it’s not that I feel we are unseen or forgotten. It’s worse than that. I feel we are bound and gagged by those who cannot bear the truth of this history and therefore they are compounding the damage through willful ignorance.

I feel as though our truth is being buried alive.

Three years ago, a commission in Canada launched a National Inquiry into the contributing factors behind the more than 1,200 murdered or missing indigenous women and girls in our nation. The commission heard from hundreds of witnesses, experts, survivors and family members over the past three years. They heard stories of abuse, neglect, trauma and violence. They also heard stories of strength, resilience, love and hope. They heard the truth. They heard the full, unpolished, raw truth of the story colonialism built.

Last week, the final report was released. It was 1,200 pages long with 231 Calls for Justice and recommendations that just scratch the surface of the issues that contribute to so many of our sisters being taken or murdered. The report also includes the word “genocide” as a descriptor for what has happened in Canada over the past 150 years.

This word has revealed a harsh truth here; people are more upset by the term genocide than they are about the 1,200+ murdered and missing indigenous women and girls. People are more shocked by the word than the deed.

In the midst of this debate about whether the use of this word is appropriate, we have unelected Senators who are actively blocking a vote on a bill that would require Canada to ensure all of our laws are in harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (UNDRIP). Senators are blocking this bill, not because it asks for anything outrageous, but because of the fear of change. UNDRIP doesn’t make any radical demands; it just calls for a recognition of the most minimal basic human rights for the 400 million Indigenous people who live on this planet. UNDRIP asks governments to recognize the value of humanity. Bill C262 asks Canada to see and value Indigenous people and pay them the dignity of including them in the rights that all Canadians are supposed to enjoy.

But that, it seems, is too much to ask.

While these struggles are personal to me, and I endeavor daily to use my influence to raise public awareness of this truth, I can see sisters and brothers around the globe raising their voices for truth, too. I see them stand for racial equality, for human rights, for an end to systematic violence, passive racism and misogyny. I also see them being bound and gagged.

It’s weary work, the loosening of chains. It’s weary work, freeing. It’s exhausting to continually stand against the lies and the fear and the stereotypes used as weapons against Truth Tellers. It is almost more than we can bear. It feels like more than I can bear.

I am tired.

So when Jesus makes the invitation to come to him and rest, I want to run into those wide open arms and collapse in his embrace. I want to weep out all of my anger and frustration and disappointment. I want him to hold me against his chest and whisper comfort to my soul. But finding this comfort isn’t as easy as it used to be.

I’m just being honest. This church girl is having a hard time finding rest for her weary soul like she used to.

I think the thing that is tripping me up is not my own comfort and my own rest, but wondering if others can find their way to Jesus, too. Can those Truth Tellers out there see that Jesus has his arms open for them, too? Can they see past those who try to silence them? Can they see the real Jesus past the fear of those who proclaim to follow him? Can they get to the safety of his arms without having to run a gauntlet of hate and fear and religious rules that have nothing to do with the heart of Jesus? Can my fellow Truth tellers who are weary, battered and oppressed but still rising, see that Jesus is for them too? Can they see their belonging?

I don’t know.

And that’s what trips me up.

I believe in the Church. I believe in the individual Jesus followers who have leaned in and listened to his heartbeat. I believe in the power of the heartbeat of Jesus to bring transformation and rest and belonging to all. I believe that those who stay silent in his embrace, who listen for his Spirit, can declare the boldest truths in love. I believe that love is on the rise.

I see it in my friends who, on the daily, speak truth in places of oppression. I see it in women of valour who stand alongside the marginalized and the criminalized poor. I see it in men of honour who affirm and make way for the God-given gifts of their sisters. I see it in everyday acts of resistance against a harmful status quo. I see it, even though I am weary.

I do see it … this dangerous Love on the rise.

But I am tired and weary and this journey of loosening chains is long.


My dear SheLoves sisters:

Where do you see Love rising?

Where are you finding belonging and rest?