Alum Stories

Ministry in a Time of Pandemics: Lisa Lackey

Lisa Lackey
Photo Credit: Lisa Lackey

Lisa Lackey

Master of Arts in Christian Education, 1992
Chief Engagement Officer and Co-Owner, Insideout Living, Inc, Evanston, Illinois

Even though 2020 is in the rearview mirror, we are all sorting through the collateral damage of three pandemics. This was not anything that any of us could have ever planned for. Suddenly, the entire world was in a state of trauma, with no letup and only tiny pockets to temporarily regulate.

As a psychotherapist, business owner, Black woman, wife, mother, grandmother, and the only child of an elderly mother who lives out of town, the challenges have been more overwhelming than I fully know.

On March 17, 2020, we shut down our offices and grabbed what was needed to set up a home office and transition to an online therapy platform. Our clients and staff needed to be supported in different ways, ways that I had not planned for. Lives were falling apart, finances were impacted, depression and anxiety increased, homes were filled with children who needed to be taught, college students were forced into online learning, and social contact was no longer an option. Our business was busier, and there were few opportunities for personal self-care.

And then, George Floyd.

It was a level of racism that the country had not known, ever. Not that racism had ever changed, we just never witnessed it from a front-row seat, with no details spared. The majority of our clients are White men and women. This created an unusual opportunity for the clients and me. The pandemic of racism hit me harder in many ways than the other two. I am a Black woman.

A large portion of what I do and who I am is to be an usher, providing a presence of safety, making room for people to speak the unspeakable, walk THROUGH the valleys, shadows, and graveyards that have been avoided. As a clinician, speaker, consultant, corporate trainer, and facilitator of messy conversations, my audience is often people who have become weary from the shortcuts and workarounds taken to sidestep THROUGH.

The pandemic of racism is certainly an issue that many of my clients would have preferred to find a shortcut to avoid the awkwardness of having to talk about it with this Black woman, who is an integral part of their lives.

During this time, I am called to highlight what would so easily be left in the shadows. I speak about the cost of continuing to make racism unspeakable. I acknowledge the traumatic impact of racism as a Black person, the daily triggers of matriculating through my life, the fears, anger, hope, and challenges of holding onto myself in a world that is more comfortable seeing me as less.

As a graduate of Garrett-Evangelical, with a master of Christian education, I learned that the great connector is love. Love is not passive, love speaks about what is hidden, and love challenges what is not love, especially in one’s self. This learning has given life-shifting opportunities for myself and those I serve.