"I finally have something to say' — This is how trust is built in Circle
A little over a week ago, we sat in Circle group with 11 girls and saw the power of community firsthand.
One of our young girls had been filled with anger and pain since we met her. She would sit in Circle with her jaw clenched, passing the talking piece each time it came to her. In Circle, you speak when you’re comfortable, and it just wasn’t her time. Instead, she would pass the talking piece, silent and listening.
A few days prior to this special group, I was driving her home, when she turned to me and said, “Oh, Miss Karen, I have something to say next week in Circle. I know you’re surprised, but I do have something to say. So I wanted you to know. I finally have something to say.”
So there she sat, quiet and waiting until we had almost closed the Circle. She held the talking piece as her face twisted in pain — we all waited and the room was silent. And then she started.
“I have something to say…”
We watched as pain, anguish and fear all crossed her face in a moment. She turned to her cousin who was in the group and asked her to share for her — she just couldn’t say the words. But after her cousin started out, she cut in, speaking and sharing her heart.
Some moments in Circle are too precious to share beyond our group, and this moment will remain in the Circle. But as she shared, she leaned back against a new friend from group and covered her face with her arm. “I don’t know why I’m crying,” she said.
But there she was. Comfortable in the presence of people who loved her; sharing and trusting that she was supported here.
A young girl who was once angry, who acted out in middle school, who dressed to attract attention, the only girl in a family of boys and a refugee whose mother knows little English — here she was. Finally ready after months of sitting in Circle, silently passing the talking piece each time it came to her, only this group saying, “I have a hard time trusting people. That’s why I couldn’t talk before.”
She couldn’t talk because she couldn’t trust — but now she’s found her voice. Her face has softened in the months she’s been with us. She smiles, laughs, and that little girl who once said “I have a hard time trusting people,” now sits in Circle, trusting the group with a secret she held deep in her heart for more than two months.
At Project Legacy, our work is deep. It’s slow. It’s intentional. I often think to myself, “Trust the slow hand of God.”
Because we have to wait for these moments. We must relax into the space of silence, teaching our children not to fear silence but to welcome it and wait for the hand of God to work.
And it does.
In Circle, we move beyond a focus on trauma to a focus on healing. Our children aren’t the trauma that has scarred them — and their story doesn’t end there, either.
Here, we witness transformation. Within the safety of the Circle, trust is built slowly and love is freely expressed. So we wait, patiently, while the slow hand of God moves and works. We witness hearts softening before our eyes, as pain is released and trust, attachment and connection are repaired.
That is what happens in Circle. That is what we’re about. Healing, empowerment and transformation, moving just as the slow hand of God does.