American Civic Life

What Calls Me to Be an Emerging Interfaith Leader in a Time of Crisis?

By Sabriya Dobbins
Emerging Leader Sabriya Dobbins. Courtesy photo.

Emerging Leader Sabriya Dobbins. Courtesy photo.

Just when the walls felt like they were closing in as the pandemic swarmed the lives of one too many, the sky fell through during George Floyd, suicides, mass shootings, and war, as they shook, and continue to shake, our world harder than ever before.  

I remember days when I would simply stare at the television screen, eyes glazed over, and mind numb to the droning sounds of horrific news reports. Some days, I still do it. Then, I begin to wonder how much my heart could take as I experience chest pains periodically from the stress I am feeling. We collectively know this nagging pain a little too well now, a feeling of helplessness in the chaos. A sense of hopelessness cannot help but drift into the air like an unshakeable and dark plague.  

As I navigate the winds of this turbulent time, with moments of great sorrow in my heart and tears in my eyes, I know that I still have a part to play. A part bigger than me and a role that requires I show up with the last ounce of hope I have left. While I may not have the power to stop a pandemic or the power to end a war alone, I have the power to help others access their lights to navigate the storm. Lights that we all carry in some form. The light is the last shard of hope that many need most, and that shard is none other than Faith. 

Faith is, if not, one of the most powerful holders of our destiny. It gives us a sense of freedom from the pain because it lets us know a better tomorrow is possible. Faith reminds us that reality is never as it seems, and our stories are still yet to be written one moment at a time. Whether one believes in destiny or free will, faith is the crux where humanity and hope meet, no matter how bleak circumstances look. While people fear meeting at this delicate intersection, little do they realize the energy that lies in this space is truly unstoppable.  

Every unique faith within every one of us brings about an extraordinary strength to this fight for justice.

Being an Emerging Interfaith Leader is helping others locate faith wherever it may lie in their lives. It helps them reach into the darkness with blind hands to access the only glimmer of light they may know at that moment. So many things remain out of our control, but somehow, faith makes the impossible possible in ways we can never understand. Yet, it is not about understanding, as it is about gathering the ashes of yesterday and using faith to paint a masterpiece for tomorrow. No matter how broken you are or how broken you may feel about the world, there is still room for your gifts. Faith reminds us of all that we still have a part to play in this world, no matter what happens. Every unique faith within every one of us brings about an extraordinary strength to this fight for justice and good that we all seek with vigor. 

Scrapes and bruises on my soul, I still rise like a fire from a volcano. I rise hand in hand with all my brothers and sisters, transcending the gorgeous tapestry of faiths around the world. We all must tap into our unyielding faiths as we push against the raging storms of the world threatening to tear us apart. If we do not answer the call for hope, who else will?  

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or a crisis, please reach out immediately to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.  

Sabriya Dobbins, Interfaith Innovation Fellow, and award-winning Founder of Project Passport, graduated from North Carolina State University with dual bachelor’s degrees in animal science and social work and has a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of the Cumberlands. Sabriya launched Project Passport, a preventative mental wellness company that hosts transformational experiences. These experiences focus on providing tools and solutions to help company teams, organizations, and women take control of their mental health. After experiencing her own mental health struggles, Sabriya created a sacred space to help others with the “little things” before they become big things that result in breakdowns. Connect on LinkedIn and find @projectpassportllc on Facebook and Instagram.