Tonight my roommate asked me why I would keep showing up to a place where I felt unwanted. Why continue to show up to a place that refuses to see you how you identify? I live in hiding at glide. It is terribly oppressive. I pray that I learn how to “come out of the closet.”
My intimate knowledge of glide is overwhelming. I am connected to the heart of glide. That heart flows from Cecil Williams, and now lives heavily within the Ensemble. The heart of glide is concerned with the Spirit of the Living God; it centers itself in liberation through recovery. I have spent hours, amounting to days and weeks, amounting to months participating as both a facilitator, contributor, and leader within groups at glide. I have brought my mind, sharpened through the crucible of doctorate studies in Social & Cultural Anthropology, to bare upon glide. I have seen its future. And the power of these visions are the sole reason I stay at glide.
Visions have a life of their own. They cry out to be born with their own agency and will. I am both midwife and laborer for these visions. I am in birth pain over them. The power of these visions shape the future of San Francisco, the people of the Tenderloin, and the institution of glide.
It is almost a curse; intimate knowledge carves this edge between blessing and curse. My knowledge of glide comes from my skillfulness as thinker and intuitive scholar, my capacity to integrate my mind with the power of my heart resonance. What I lack is vitality which shapes the perception of my leadership ability both internally and externally.
As I have been held back from vital empowerment, my knowledge has grown from the bottom up rather than the top down. Even today my service at glide came through the basement, the food program. More than this my knowledge of glide is built upon the community of clients in recovery; it is participatory because I am a client. I am in love with them because my story touches their lives. I am them. Addict, homeless, victim of police brutality, full of resentment and self-piety. Their bottoms might exceed the pain and devaluation mine assumed, but the spirit of disempowerment, the experience of injustice and the conscious feelings of shame, guilt, and anger bind us to a common struggle. I have their attention with my story. I have the power to communicate that struggle and share the light of change across race and class barriers. My gift is a ministry of liberation.
The future of glide is God’s story. And that’s why glide.