Master Peace- Audra

Nathan Stanton has spent the last 10 years as a pastor, church planter and artist on the West, South and Northsides of Chicago, and is an Interfaith America Racial Equity Media Fellow 

The following short story and poem are a part of a series of vignettes from Stanton that we will be publishing each month and are connected to a larger narrative called Master Peace. The narrative is about characters seeking personal solace in a time of unrest. You can find the earlier installments using these links: Celeste, and Darnell.


            It was if the resolve had come at one moment. Well actually more like a rush of several. She’d settled it, she would leap from the apex of her drug-riddled apartment building and hurtle down towards the pavement with a speed that no unencumbered elevator could match despite the weight carried trip after trip to the top. All Audra knew was there wasn’t much she could do to end the weight she’d carried since her mother had orchestrated a similar tumble from a similar apex only months ago. Yet we all know anyone who has lost someone has to wade for miles and miles through a grief swamp while the friends and family of those close only have to visit. Their concern remains maybe as long as the season does. Soon enough just as the chill grows in the air signaling autumn, so does the empathy grow cold. All that is left is the loneliness Audra sits with and the compassion from others she’s exhausted not on purpose as she’d been very unaware of the limits. All she knew is she was hurting and hopefully help would always be on the way. Now at her best friend’s gathering that realization was beginning to unravel.


            Early in the morning or late at night she’d stared down long at the intricate flowers that covered her Doc Martens. Once while her friend Malik was over, and looking for surfaces to paint he’d seen her brand new shoes in a corner. Those were the last gifts from her mother and took on a whole new meaning covered with various kinds of flowers that were surely still present in her garden back home. Now this impromptu party had run out of “fuel” and as such had run out of steam as the proceeding spilled out into the lawn adjacent to Melinda’s building. It was the moment where everyone knew it was time to go home but were waiting for the mass exodus to be initiated by another. The exposure of loneliness that lurks at a gathering can be even more deafening in the ungodly hours of the morning. Her mother had warned her that only the devil could be found after midnight. But like all well placed warnings it just served as a slim reminder of all of the dangerous adventures she was missing with the early turn in. The small groups of 2 and 3 did not even turn at the sight of a young woman with an old fashioned nightgown floating by barefoot. She seemed transfixed with some purpose and for a moment Audra forgot all about her earlier resolve. What would looking forward to something look like? Yet she stood amongst the crowd yet all alone searching for some kind of human anchor to hold on. Just then Melinda approached and asked Audra if she wanted to spend the night. With reluctance she began sensing a large wave of the grief that had encapsulated her as of late. With a waving off of her hand she untethered her anchor from the populated land and eased off down the road back to the place she’d call home for the rest of eternity. Like those moments when one sees everyone else full of purpose and the happiness from her heart begins to flee for that grace had not still been afforded to her nor would it be. Upon returning to the five story building with no working elevator she slowly trudged to the top past another place she had used to become shit-faced on many occasion. It was as if the massage therapist there provided gifts of illicit drugs for her “children” these were the artists and musicians who’d hung around looking to speak deeply about subjects and generally waste time according to the rest of the world who bustled about. The fluorescent lights illuminated all of the scars and scratches that lined the walls all the way up to the place where she was destined to fall. Upon opening the door to the roof there was a rush of fresh air that reinvigorated her but could not stem the tide of thoughts of how she could be better if her sleep unfolded into eternity or even the distinct possibility she could join her mother somewhere anywhere but here. Her close cropped hair shone under the moon as all creation seemed to hold it breath in anticipation of how this all would end. She approached the place on the roof closest to the window of their living room and stepped upon the parapet ready for the final descent. Unexpectedly her eyes drifted toward the horizon and saw a slightly imperceptible blinking in the distance. This persistent light filled not only her eyes but also her heart in a way that replaced the empty longing with a place of passionate desire. Like a wisp of smoke from a smoldering fire she found the last vestiges of dreams to inspire.









The speed gathering as ones wings touch the

air I sat on the ground wondering there

would soon be some sort of flock

Caving the dive that others collected into assault

Rifles in spite of the non violence

practiced by the mob of onlookers

for there always are pieces





Apportioned for the times are changing

for the love now of freedom

made from the imprisonment of many inside

their own minds

but of salvation that is yet the false kind

for none may be brought with the restriction of another

on long account of a beauty that creates

the age old sage saying that says

into the lonely void contains the peace that saves


in flight off floats the resistance

paged yet once upon time written

creatively called yet one smitten

gifted all the same by a i=universal concern


Earned the hand up and away apportioned

for the vision of display not

recognizing the era and season we

are guaranteed to be on

flipping through the annals of history

searching for the widely held lexicon


In flight the hesitation floats and

abandons the fear splitting the issues apart

learning to think of ones passion from the heart



If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

North Carolina is not alone in regard to macro-level efforts by state governments to increase access to vaccines, subverted by micro-level actions by individuals.
A través de mi experiencia, sé que las familias hispanas han sido gravemente, y desproporcionadamente, afectadas por la pandemia, y los datos de la Encuesta sobre Diversidad Religiosa y Vacunas de 2021 de PRRI-IFYC lo corroboran.
"It is permissible within our religion to defer, or to make up your fast later if you're feeling sick."
From experience, I know that Hispanic families had been greatly, and disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and survey data from the 2021 PRRI-IFYC Religious Diversity and Vaccine Survey corroborates this.
As the last few days of Ramadan are upon us – take our interactive quiz to find out how much you really know about this holy month.
We weren’t sure what to expect or how to navigate the complexities of getting to know colleagues from a distance, but IFYC team members Silma and Nadia welcomed us into their homes, their traditions, and their faith.
As the final project for the class, we wanted to do something that would make our campus a more inclusive, interreligious place.
IFYC is collecting prayers and meditations from diverse faiths to show our solidarity with the people of India, as well as links to charitable organizations that people can support.
Generally, tradition holds that the body is to be cremated or buried as quickly as possible – within 24 hours for Hindus, Jains and Muslims, and within three days for Sikhs. This need for rapid disposal has also contributed to the current crisis.
“Humanitarian Day embodies why Islam is relevant in America today. It’s why many Black Muslims embraced Islam, to be part of the solution, not only in their personal lives, but in their communities." - Margari Aziza Hill, MuslimARC
Recently, I asked a group of IFYC Alumni to share what they do in one sentence. I love their responses because they capture who they are so well.
As a nurse and a physician occupying different spheres in relation to the patient, Anastasia and I held comparable but also differing views about the role of religion and interfaith in the realm of patient care.
El movimiento necesita artistas, educadores, trabajadores de la salud, padres, funcionarios electos, científicos, clérigos, directores generales, y cuantas personas sea posible para hablar en contra de la injusticia donde sea que la veamos.
The scholarship covers the students’ tuition, as well as housing and living assistance while they pursue undergraduate or graduate degrees across all 18 of Columbia’s schools and affiliates.
En esta foto del sábado 9 de mayo de 2020, el Rev. Fabián Arias lleva a cabo un servicio en casa, al lado de los restos de Raúl Luis López quien murió de COVID-19 el mes previo, en el barrio Corona del distrito de Queens en Nueva York.
It is certainly within the rights of philanthropic and political institutions to 'not do religion,' but such an approach undermines any meaningful, holistic commitment to community or place-based humanitarian efforts in much of this country.
Last month, Kevin Singer, co-director of Neighborly Faith, brought two interfaith leaders together to discuss their respective publications and the consequences of the Equality Act on religious organizations, institutions, and places of worship.
It is in this spirit respeaking memory and finding time to etch it into the future that I offer the following exercise. It is designed to do with your friends or folks – preferably three or more. Take some time with it. Use it as a catalyst to...
Imagine my surprise upon coming to USA and celebrating my first Easter, but didn’t people realize it was Easter? Why are all the egg die and chocolates already sold out and none left for us celebrating a few weeks later?
They will, in other words, be learning the skills of mindfulness meditation — the secular version of the Buddhist practice that has skyrocketed in popularity to become America's go-to antidote for stress.
This is a sampling of sacred texts and statements, listed in alphabetical order by religion, that religious communities have used to engage in the work of public health amidst this global pandemic.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.