I know we reach out from time to time when we’re in need of specific help. But over the last 18 years, people have just come to help. They simply show up. We always have enough. Some have come for a day. Many have come for a season. And some come and stay, and become family.
Something hard to explain happens inside of us when we give ourselves away to others. A mentor once said, “The only things you can keep with you are the things you give away.” I was a very young man, and I didn’t understand that then. But I do now.
“We give ourselves away” has always been one of our guiding principles. We don’t explain what it means. We just invite those who come to let it reveal its meaning to them as they find creative ways to live into it.
Today we gave ourselves away to 150 families, and they in turn gave themselves away to us. It’s amazing what happens when that happens.
A friend came today who had lost his father two days ago. He said he felt really lost. I could see that on his face. He often comes and just stands in the midst of the community and soaks in whatever it is that he needs. Sometimes he takes home food. But today, I think he came for something else.
Grief is the luxury of the safe. I think he feels safe here. I think he feels safe enough here to let the pain come and to sit with it. The only way out is through. He knows the community understands. We have seen oceans of grief. I am glad he came today. People came by and just touched him on the arm and met his eyes, and nodded their understanding. It was enough.
This is our community. We give ourselves away. And we feel safe here.
Max Ramsey, Despensa de la Paz Site Manager