Today my heart is overflowing. I am feeling deeply grateful for the love, light, and warmth of last night’s gathering at Raising our Light: An Evening of Remembrance in Montecito.
It was beautiful to see the streams of people pouring into Manning Park after sunset. And even after distributing over 1,000 candles, friends and neighbors continued to arrive.
I am still in awe that standing in the midst of so many people, there was a calmness to the gathering that in and of itself felt comforting.
Earlier that day as we were making preparations at the park following the afternoon rain showers, a rainbow appeared in the skies above Montecito. A newscaster called this rainbow ‘poetic’... I believe it was a symbol of hope and promise. A similar rainbow had appeared one year ago following the Debris Flow. It seemed to be a grace-filled book-end to a long and difficult year.
LOWER MANNING PARK 1/9/19 PHOTO CREDIT: NICKI PARR, WOMEN'S ECONOMIC VENTURE; 1/9 PLANNING COMMITTEE PARTNER
By no means is the road to recovery over after the candle lit walk of last evening. In some ways, it is just as the closing poem said... we now set out on a road we cannot see. There are unknowns that face us tomorrow. But what shone bright last night- in the radiant faces surrounding us- is the hope that we do not face tomorrow alone.
Rev. Marvel Hitson serves as ICTG's Director of Congregational Health & Trauma Chaplain.
Marvel has been based out of the Montecito Center alongside the HOPE 805 Team & other community partners supporting Santa Barbara County in the aftermath of the Thomas Fire and Debris Flows. She is currently working towards long term recovery through Riviera Care Center Project in collaboration with the Community Wellness Team.