I had the distinct honor of participating in Leadership Collier, an immersive leadership program in Collier County, Florida, where I live. I thought this might help me understand how sanctuary can best transform lives right here in my own community. I applied over a year ago and have been excited for the classes to begin.
Today we began with Human Services Day.
We visited several local not-for-profit, mission-driven organizations and listened to presentations from even more. The Harry Chapin Food Bank, Grace Place, the David Lawrence Center, St. Matthews House, our local women and children’s shelter, just to name a few. It was amazing. Humbling. Inspiring. It was also upsetting to see the depth of need in our community. I was overwhelmed with emotion at the stories of people who had turned their lives around after unbelievable hardship. On the other hand, I was impressed by the level of commitment that these organizations exhibit with their services and programs. I didn’t realize my community had such depth of generosity.
I was also motivated to get involved and lend a hand. But as my class sat together and decompressed after the long day of learning, we discussed the complications that COVID has brought to so many people and organizations in our area. Some voiced frustration at the unfairness of it.
And then it occurred to me that there are no mistakes. There are no accidents or coincidences. The timing is actually perfect because it seems we were born for this.
We were born to experience this class and this exposure to our community’s needs right now.
Because we are uniquely situated to contribute and help solve problems. Because we care and can help. Because this will help us all grow and move humanity forward. Because we are leaders and our community needs us.
I watched and held my breath with our nation’s news this week, thinking our world had come unhinged. I had a hard time sleeping and woke up with a stomach ache more than one morning. Amazingly, this same thought occurred to me as I caught up late Saturday evening with the current updates and findings.
We were born for this.
Because we are uniquely situated to look at what has happened and see through to the crisis of community we are having in our nation. Because we are capable of interrupting this pattern of craziness and disconnection we’ve seen playing out in ways both big and small. Because we are here right now.
So let us be strong. Let us exhibit wisdom and objectivity. Let us each do whatever it is that we can do to lead, inspire and cope. It can be as little as lighting a candle or packing food staple boxes, as big as starting a movement or running for office.
We can do this.
We were born for this.
With love and gratitude,