What makes you come alive my friend?
This week I grateful to bear witness to people coming alive in the world:
The Swarm, our affectionate nickname for the group of Unitarian Universalists from two congregations in Massachusetts who have been coming to New Orleans for service every November since Hurricane Katrina and the Federal Flood of 2005, are back in town and have spent days working with a couple trying to get back into their water damaged home. The volunteers have already filled 2 dumpsters with damaged sheetrock and unsalvageable goods. They have endured rats and fire ants and the grief of the homeowners parting with beloved stuff. When I saw them at breakfast this morning, they were bustling with purpose and a sense of joyful clarity about their service in the world.
At the same time that the Swarm was preparing for another day of physical labor to restore a family to their home, the brave souls with #Fightfor15 were gathering just down the road at the McD’s on Claiborne Avenue, chanting for a living wage, for enough hours to live with dignity and respect, for the ability to be able to afford to come alive with creativity and joy instead of moving with the exhausted haze of the underpaid and overemployed with three low-paid jobs none of which provide enough hours to even make bills. Across the nation and here in New Orleans, we are fighting for $15 and hour and a union. We are fighting for human dignity and respect. We are fighting for creative souls, for musicians and students, mothers and grandfathers, for caregivers and food makers. We are calling for a corporate recognition that the status quo of mass exploitation must change. We are calling for the quality of lives we all deserve and that are absolutely possible.
And we celebrate the systems change that is coming alive through the dedicated work of Concerned Student 1950. When systemic racism continues to silence and harm a community for decades and that community organizes powerfully to demand an end to the harm, we are called to celebrate the win! It is life-affirming to uplift the work, to name the life-giving power of such movement. To those who have dared greatly and continue to do so, I offer gratitude and respect and prayers for your life, that you may live to see the fruits of the seeds of change you have planted with your courage.
To everyone who has asked “What makes me come alive?” and listened closely for the answer – thank you for shining your life-affirming light in the world. Theologian Howard Thurman’s insight into the true needs of the world are priceless. Sometimes asking the right question can carry us further than any list of answers to questions that miss the mark.
My prayer for all of us today: that we discover what makes us come alive and go do or be that. For what this world needs is people who have come alive.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Rev. Dr. Howard Thurman