Wednesday, March 23, 2016

"What we need is here."

Read this, right now, from Parker Palmer:

I have been feeling very fight-or-flight lately. The town we serve in failed to pass a school referendum for the second year in a row, making last year's cuts to our kids' education indefinite: no art, no elementary PE teacher, dismissal at 2PM instead of 3PM, no prep for teachers until after dismissal, and drastically reduced support staff. 

I have been awed by how well the teachers, administrators, and decision-makers in Neoga have worked together to serve our children in spite of the no votes. They are still showing up for our kids every single day, even though they'd be justified in saying that no one is supporting them. 

I'm frustrated. But I'm not alone. 

When I'm confronted by things that make me want to run, I'm reminded that no living situation is perfect and that your problems follow you wherever you go. Sometimes the problem isn't everyone or everything else; sometimes, "the call is coming from inside the house." It's hard to hold up a mirror to your own hurting heart.

I need to remember why I'm here. I'm called to serve alongside my husband in this community. And it's time to get to work. It's time to turn my concerns into action. Because what we need is here, for such a time as this. 

Today is the Jewish observance of Purim, a remembrance of brave Queen Esther who risked her life to save her people, the Hebrews, from certain death at the hands of the Persians. I'm sure Esther was terrified, but she also knew she was in exactly the right place at the right time for God to use her. 

Living in community is hard. Things don't always go smoothly. We convince ourselves that scarcity is real and we run instead of digging deep and connecting with each other. We're so much better, and more powerful, together.

What we need is here. Who we need is here, too. We'll soon celebrate the resurrection and marvel at life coming from death, light emerging from darkness. These symbols become ever more meaningful as I get older. And they inspire me to act, as the apostles did, to make things happen.

So I'm dreaming about how I can serve where I am in this difficult time, taking inspiration from Queen Esther and heartened by Parker Palmer's wise words.

Maybe you are dreaming, too. Let's do this together.

What's good about your community? What isn't? And what can you do to help? 

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