In preparing to meet with others to form a new committee to address the needs of inclusion and accessibility at my church, I found myself asking “What can you know at the beginning, to prepare for the future?” I’ve been in at the start of so many good ideas and so many short lived projects. I want to know how we can make it last, now, before we’ve even begun. I started thinking about what motivates me, what gets me to come back again and again even when I’m out voted or discouraged.
I realized that I commit when I feel passionate, when I know that something is unjust, or when my heart is touched. I know I have to get involved when something connects to my own life and the lives of people I love, like my daughter, or when something makes me angry, really angry, I need to do something about it.
I can’t fly to Rwanda and soothe an abused child; but, I can donate to Gate of Hope, a charity that does. I can also let others know so that they donate as well. In Haiti, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee (UUSC) helps the most vulnerable, the women and children still living in poverty and disruption. Their work calls to me. I know trauma first hand because I witness daily the struggles my daughter faces. I can barely imagine what it must be like for so many on that tiny island. But, if I can help by supporting UUSC’s campaign there and by telling others, I know I will continue to do so.
Passion, understanding, justice – these keep me committed. Knowing that in some small way, I can make a difference; that too, is critical. I think we each need to feel that our contribution is effective, that we are of value and valued. When I look back on successful collaborations and groups I have been a part of, they have always been defined by a sense of each player having a significant and valued role. Everyone’s voice was honored, everyone’s voice was heard and, together, our voice was stronger. Together we made a difference.
The ministry that we are forming now is about the unique and different gifts that every individual brings; so, it is fitting that honoring each voice among us play an essential role in its formation and success. So, here we are. Poised on the cusp of something new, vital and exciting. I think my challenge is to honor and nurture the individual voices of our fledgling group and learn to be patient. When so much should have been done yesterday, we have no choice but to go forward.