Okay, he isn’t really old enough to be my father, but fellow Quaker John Calvi has directly supported my work and more importantly has provided a model of service that extends beyond his own immediate concerns to embrace the broader concerns of those around him. He also does a great job of taking care of himself the many weeks he is on the road (and has a wicked sense of humor).
John Calvi has been working with people surviving traumatic experience since 1982. A certified massage therapist, John began this work with women survivors of sexual abuse and then in the AIDS epidemic. Later, he worked with inmates, tortured refugees, ritual abuse survivors, addicts, and hospice. John’s spiritual gift as a Quaker healer is the release of physical and emotional pain following trauma. Making 24 trips each year to teach, John has taught in four countries, five prisons, and ten yearly meetings. Many of his workshops are attended by health care professionals and clergy working in crisis where pain is abundant and resources too few.
Today John sent an e-mail to the Friends for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Concerns (FLGBTQC). In it he demonstrates yet again how he extends himself to feel suffering, to connect, to find meaning. I felt moved by his words and e-mailed him for permission to share them here. He agreed. Thanks John 🙂
Then and Now
Reading news about a trial for the murder of a young trans woman I suddenly remember a moment from 35 or so years ago when I was driving along and the news on the radio about a case where a sailor had killed a trans woman and the judge and then an appeals court or maybe the US Supreme Court said his fury resulting in murder was justified when he found out his prostitute was in fact a man. And my grief and shame for humanity so large at the moment. It can be difficult to see at times, but we have come a long way, with much further to go. The blessing of having ones life be safe, recognized, valued grows so slowly through human history. I wonder at times if there is progress. Certainly there is plenty of proof that, no, we’ve learned too little too slow and the result is that millions of lives each year are lost or wounded. And then there is news that some part of justice has snuck on to the main stage and done a surprise show lifting someone or a group towards humanity’s table. Learning the good news becomes a spiritual discipline so as to weather the bad news which is so very available and constant and sure of itself. If your news commentator sounds like a high school principle with really bad hemorrhoids, turn him/her off now! Oh dear, rambling again like an old wandering queen with no paragraphs and dubious punctuation saved by spell check but only just here on this beautiful sunny first day in Vermont where the last snow in the driveway is sure to leave finally today!