I spent part of last Sunday in a little Western Massachusetts town called Shelburne Falls, where my family and I had come to see the waterfall for which the town was named. Warm temperatures had caused the mountain snow to melt, and the Deerfield River plunged over boulders and through glacial potholes in a torrent of foaming, muddy brown-and-white water. Its power evoked the words of the prophet Amos, where “justice roll[s] down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
A year with Life Together can sometimes feel like plunging over a waterfall. Learning to sit comfortably with one’s self in contemplative practice, doing the messy work of authentic community, fighting against that which denies the full humanity of others… together these things upend old ways of being and invite fellows into something new. And even when the waters aren’t raging, the day-to-day streams subtly shape each of us. I remember that when I came to Life Together, my colleague Rebecca Behizadeh told me that she had never worked at an organization with as deep an impact on her professional and personal habits as this one. She has reiterated that message as she begins transitioning out of Life Together over the coming months. I have also heard about that deep work of formation from our new Bridge Recruitment and Fundraising Manager, alumna Libby Gatti, whom we welcome back to Life Together on March 6 following her fellow experience working among people experiencing homelessness (you can read more about Libby below). Their stories, and the stories of so many others, testify to the transforming power of this community.
As we enter into Lent, and turn at Life Together toward our “Rivers in the Desert” theme for Love Matters, I would invite you to look for the ways in which the Life Together community has shaped you. Like alumna Hannah McMeekin, who reflects below on a woman who radiated love and acceptance, perhaps there are people who helped you move through the rapids of a difficult experience. Or maybe working for justice ultimately smoothed your rough edges, as it has for Esperanza fellow Kiera Powers in this month’s fellow reflection. Whatever your experience, may you find the gift contained within it and hold onto that, during this Lenten season and beyond.