"If You're Out There"
HHH creates a safe environment where vulnerable individuals and families can heal and rebuild through the restorative power of music. Music brings out of people themes of fear, depression, self-doubt and imprisonment that we can then work through in the Circles of Safety and Respect.
What does that really mean? Here’s a reflection from my work this fall.
Just this week our intern Dave DeLoach and volunteer Wes Cline mentioned the kind of comment from a participant at St. Leonard's House that keeps us going:
I look forward to this class. Sometimes my week is so difficult and this helps me not to think about worries, but gives me hope and encouragement.
A few weeks ago I led a circle that brought together students from Sister Jean Hughes Adult High School and men from St. Leonard’s Ministries.
Two things struck me as we read through, sang and discussed John Legend’s If You’re Out There. First, how affirmed everyone in the room was when they first heard and then sang the song the song themselves:
No more broken promises
No more call to war
Unless it's love and peace that we're really fighting for
As a woman in the group reflected, sometimes the war is on the streets and in our communities, but there's also an experience of war or inner struggle that all of us experience on some level or at one time or another, as reflected in self-sabotage and self-defeating thoughts. Singing is a way to talk about these issues and work through them, and to feel less alone.
The other theme that came out was being the leader we are waiting for:
Sing along with me
If you're out there
I'm dying to believe that you're out there
Stand up and say it loud
It made me reflect again on the importance of being in a circle. At St. Leonard’s that evening, everyone got into drumming or playing chimes. Even those reluctant participants who think they can't create a beat on their own were moved by the energy and jumped in.
And that’s what we do: let it happen naturally, in order to bring forward the importance of listening to our own inner voice and to one another. We have our own rhythm; together we can be powerful. That, after all, is what a leader does.