March 7, 2016
To seek your soul is a precious thing,
But you will never find it on your own,
Only among the clamor, threat, and pain
Of other people’s needs will love be known.
– Kathy Galloway, Iona community, Scotland
This excerpt of a recent “Seeking the Holy” reflection articulates the mission of our Costa Rica trip. Of our 23 member team, some are lifelong FirstChurch members, others visitors, and some are friends. We have all come from different backgrounds with different baggage to seek and to serve.
What binds us is not our tie to a specific church, but our bravery in stepping beyond the bustle and comfort of routine to serve people we’ve never met, in many cases alongside people we’ve never met. We don’t know what the working conditions or weather will be, but all of us made an independent choice to show up together.
Being from a “doing” culture where our identities are often bound to and derived from our accomplishments and/or our perceived usefulness, it may seem natural that we have ventured to Costa Rica to “do” together. But as we scrape, sand and stucco the Agape Medical Clinic, the inherent beauty of this “doing” is that we are not striving to be successful for identity’s sake.
This isn’t a scoreboard of accomplishments, but a celebration of our infinite ability when we work together in the name of God. It may only take one person to stucco a wall, but someone needs to smooth, another to mix cement, another to shovel and sift the sand, and yet another to collect the water. Without this tethered existence, we struggle to accomplish anything. So why do we struggle so hard to be and do and feel successful alone when we are already whole in our oneness?
We are better together, but only when we acknowledge our personal limitations and the gifts of those around us. This week, we have shown up in spite of our own weaknesses to get dirty and serve wherever and whatever the need may be. Because our souls are a precious thing, but we will never find them on our own. Only among the clamor, threat, and pain of other people’s needs will love be known.