Chaplain's Corner: A Poem for Holding On

Dear YMCA community,

Here we are, almost a year into 2019. Many of us put lots of hopes and energy into the fresh start of a new year. I know I do. I believe there is power in these goals and intentions. 

I also know that despite our best laid plans, January can come with much stress. It can be in the news, in our workplace, our home, our hearts, or some of each.

If you’re feeling in the thick of it, I promise you are not the only one.

As an interfaith chaplain, I hear from people daily about the deep challenges in their lives. I am in awe of the resilience and wisdom in each of you. 

So often, when I take a step back from the individual conversations, a big-picture pattern emerges. I see a tapestry of our lives woven together — so many people going through similar challenges but feeling alone about it.

Yesterday I came home from work and immediately felt the need to write a poem. If you are struggling this winter, this one is for you — and so is the YMCA

Longing for Holding On (a poem for Jan. 29, 2019)

By Rev. Erin J. Walter

I don’t know about youBut it feels like there’s so much falling apart right nowBreakdownsClose callsLost causesFinal straws

Everyone on the edge of the edge of the edge

Hold on

I don’t have any magic words

Hold on

None whatsoever

Hold on

I love you

Hold on

This shall pass.In the meantime,Can you find a safe place?Be somebody’s safe space?To laugh it outCry it outHang in thereSleep on itDance about itPlay your favorite song

No promises just knowYou’re not the only one

Hold onHold onHold on


However you’re holding on, our Y community is here for you. We aspire to be your safe space to laugh and cry, dance and connect. We encourage you to visit with the staff or members of your nearby Y branch so they can help you find a class or program that will serve your needs. Once you find that special class that you can stick with — the one that feels like, “YES! This is me!” — community and connection will follow.

If you particularly need emotional support these days, please schedule a pro bono counseling session, attend a Joys and Concerns Circle at the TownLake branch, or reach out to me at 512-542-9622 or for a chaplaincy visit or resource referrals. 

We are here for you, and we are glad you are here.

Sending love and hope for 2019,

Rev. Erin Walter

Community Engagement Director

All opinions expressed here are those of their authors and/or contributors and not of their employer. Any questions or concerns regarding the content found here may be sent to

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