Yes! to Care — Anna Blaedel, USA

Art by Jessica Jacks

Care.
Tender care.
Soul care.
Spiritual care.
Material care.
Collective care.

Not self care, no. Or, rather, not only self care. Because no self is separable from the multitude of our relations, and we are made for murmurations, and our lives and legacies and futures are bound up together, even now, even now.
So, yes, to precious you caring for precious you.

But always, too, extending care beyond, and receiving care from beyond.

Yes, to baths. And lighting candles. And rubbing oil into your skin. And putting on an album you love and having an impromptu dance party or stretching out on the floor and letting the movement of notes and chords coax a new rhythm in you.
Yes, to rest. And making art. And cooking good food. And writing letters. And slowing down. And laughing, whenever it is possible.
Yes, to walking outside, and turning your face to the sun.
Yes, to noticing beauty wherever beauty can be found.
Yes, to carving time, finding time, creating time, for meditation, and prayer, and ritual.
Yes, to sharing what we have.
Yes, to dreaming and moving toward a world without property lines.
Yes, to mutual aid, and mobilizing with and for those around you, so that we are building and creating and manifesting a world where all our needs are met with care.

Care.
As a survival practice.
A spiritual practice.
A queer practice.
An abolitionist practice.
A gospel practice.
A yes, from the inside out, to life.

We need so much.
We have given so much.
We have so much, yet, still, to offer.

Our creativity. Our imagination. Our art. Our breath. Our holy labor.
Our bruised and broken open and beating hearts.
Our gentleness. Our defiance.
Our care.

Yes, to these small, daily, ordinary choices that pattern us holy, and beautiful, and alive, and free.

‘Revd Anna Blaedel is theologian-in-residence at enfleshed. They bring an attentiveness to the intersections of academic, activist, and ecclesial engagement. Anna nourishes students through campus ministry for the University of Iowa Wesley Center and is enrolled in a PhD program in Theological and Philosophical Studies at Drew University’s Graduate Division on Religion.’

This reflection was  posted on the enfleshed website: ‘…enfleshed creates and facilitates spiritual resources for Christian-adjacent communities learning and unlearning dominance in belief and practice. As the Spirit, tender and fierce, calls us all to courage, enfleshed hopes to provide sources of deep spiritual nourishment for the work of collective liberation before us.’

This reflection, originally  part of a longer piece, ‘What is your Yes, even now?’ was originally posted on the enfleshed website.

 ‘…enfleshed creates and facilitates spiritual resources for Christian-adjacent communities learning and unlearning dominance in belief and practice. As the Spirit, tender and fierce, calls us all to courage, enfleshed hopes to provide sources of deep spiritual nourishment for the work of collective liberation before us.’