Tuesday, March 20, 2012

On Hope and Faith - Kurt Nelson

Thoughts from Kurt for the evening:  3/20/12

We've crested the halfway point of our trip.  Moved hundreds of totes and bags and boxes worth of musty clothing and debris and food (not in the same containers, thankfully). 

We've conversed deep into the night about theology and wandered much of the city.  Heard stories from folks living on the street and from those serving them daily.  We've met with civic leaders and organization managers and regular volunteers.  We've argued and worked and been overwhelmed.  We've served the people we've met to the best of our ability.  We've asked hard questions and pondered big ideas.

And in the midst of it all, I find myself pondering to things in particular:

First, hope. 
On Sunday as we moved countless boxes and bags of clothing and debris and as I wondered if this was actually affecting anything, I had a minor revelation.  I was tired and frustrated.  I knew we wouldn't be able to get our final load to Good Will in time.  I had been sick the day before, and I was ready to be done.  And we had miles to go before we slept.

I looked around and I wasn't the only one.  But so too there were those who had gotten their second (or third or fourth...) wind.  They found their hope from some unknown place.  And I found my hope in them.  So I was again ready to work.

And I realized in that moment that part of what I love about multi-faith work, is that we never know from whence hope will come.  Together we form a stronger group than we would if difference weren't such a significant part of our collective.  On that day especially, we were better together.  And I had never quite realized it so much, as in that moment when I was ready to give up, but was spurred forward by the hope of others.

And second, faith (not exactly novel, I know).

In January, we were a group of 15, mostly strangers.  And this week, we know each other well. There's something really special about the space that's opened up when we make belief and faith an intentional part of our community and conversation.  And I'm reminded afresh of why I care so much about this. 

It influences and enhances our discourse on policy, on service.  It deepens our friendships and adds a layer of value to our experiences.  We are a community of non-theists and Christians and seekers and Hindus and Muslims and Jews.  And it's all happened in relatively short order. 

I'm proud.  And happy.  And tired.  (And feeling fully recovered from Saturday...thanks for asking).

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