This past week I had the chance to take one of those work trips where you ask yourself- am I really getting paid to do this?! In many ways it was like other trips to annual conferences- except for one small feature- it was at the beach, Jekyll Island specifically. By recommendation of a friend, my last night there, after we finished the plenary session, I went over to driftwood beach. This section of the island can only be described as hauntingly beautiful.
Strewn about the sand are the remains of old trees, now weathered and misplaced- driftwood.
As I wandered about, it seemed hard to grasp that these massive pieces had be uprooted and tossed about. There was something I noticed though- all the trees the roots- though wide and massive and taller than me – weren’t very deep. I found myself wondering… were they shallow to begin with? Is that why they fell? Sure, maybe much of the roots had eroded after the trees feel, but what seems clear is that between the roots and the sandy, shifting foundation they placed themselves in- it wasn’t enough to withstand the constant barrage of waves beating in on them, demanding they bend to the tides.
Have you experienced the tides pull the ground out from under you? Sure- maybe literally, maybe you have stood on the shore and watched then high tide pull the sand from beneath your feet as you try to keep balance… but more importantly- have you felt the tides of life pull your spiritual foundation out from under you?
I imagine the answer is yes. Being a human is hard. Life throws at us a range of tumultuous tides. Being a Transgender person is also hard and brings with it its own set of challenges.
Being a transgender person who also happens to be a Christian adds yet another set of challenges and tumultuous tides.
The reality is, that as transgender people of faith, we need send our roots deep into our Source in order to stay grounded when life’s waves come our way. When we are rooted deeply in God, we are able to stay centered. This doesn’t mean that life isn’t at time stormy, but rather that when it does we are able to weather the storms rather than be tossed about by them.
This isn’t an easy way of living. It takes practice and spiritual practices to grow our roots deep. For me, this means a regular practice of meditation. For others, it means encountering the Divine through their art or through community. This summer we have the chance to gather together as Transgender Christians to do just that- stretch our roots a bit deeper and collaborate with each other to deepen our practices and expand our network of love and support. I want to invite you to consider joining us for our Transgender Christian Retreat: Rooted. I am excited for the creative experiences that our planning team is putting together for us to recharge, reconnect with our source, and learn from each other.
Through worship, fellowship, and interactive learning we will spend our weekend together finding healing and gaining strength for the journey.
If you haven’t registered already I invite you to do so. I would love to see what it is that you will bring and what gifts and wisdom you will share with us.
For more information on Rooted or to register for this transformative conference, click HERE.
Are you an ally and wish to donate towards scholarships for transgender and gender non-conforming attendees? Click HERE to donate!
Rev. Kim Sorrells
Kim is a graduate of Candler School of Theology (Emory University) and Berry College, and is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. Prior to Saint Mark, they have served as a hospital chaplain and worked in homeless services through their time in Americorps. Kim has special interest in using spirituality and contemplative practices to equip us with the inner peace to be justice makers in the world. Kim is also a Registered Yoga Teacher and draws on this and other spiritual traditions to inform their ministry. Outside of their formal employment Kim serves as chair of the Spiritual Leaders Committee for the Transgender Health and Education Alliance (THEA), and is a member of the Atlanta Coalition of LGBTQ youth.