A few weeks ago we hosted a women’s workshop in our space that focused on rest - answering, “How can a woman care for herself in the midst of weariness and overwhelm?” Not the chocolate, bubbles and wine type of rest, but the deep acknowledgment that she truly matters and can serve no one well if she is empty. Women shared openly about what has been hard in their new lives in the US. There were mentions of a health crisis, lack of transportation and English, and feeling isolated and disconnected - but the statement that stopped me in my tracks came from a woman who had not spoken yet that morning. She said, “Since arriving, I have not experienced one day where I have felt rested.” She has been here for 7 years. What heaviness. The feeling that you can’t shoulder the burden of life - that there is no relief.
These are emotions that must be shared in community - what feels impossible to hold alone, might feel lighter together. But together is hard to come by here. These needs are also why Treetops stands uniquely in our value of wholeness, that as much as we want to work on upstream solutions to the barriers New American women face, we must first see her, as she is, and proclaim value.
This moment reinforces why we chose Pashto for our new Afghan Welcome shirt. The welcome greeting holds within it, the sentiment, “May you not be tired.” When we take time to recognize the journey of our newest neighbors, whether it’s a newly arrived Afghan family who is managing the emotions and loss of all that they knew for themselves and their children, or the Congolese mother who arrives pregnant with her children and is finding her way without a road map - it is incomprehensibly tiring.
I challenge you in this season of giving, to look beyond objects, and seek to find ways to give weary people the gift of rest. It could be holding a baby for a new mom (or doing her laundry so she can rest with her new love), it could be an opportunity to treat someone to a massage or getting their nails done that might feel frivolous when competing with never ending bills - it might be supporting the work of Treetops through a monthly gift to show up for women like these.
Whatever expression of care you choose- I think empathy will be the best tool to find what the most life-giving gift you can give might be. As a collective let us attune our hearts and ears to the weary and practice a welcome that says through our actions, “May you not be tired.”