In the middle of multiple meetings lately, either starting with coffee because it is far too early or in the morning, or starting with coffee because it is far too late in the evening, I find myself in the middle of multiple meetings.
There are papers and computers and skyped-in video faces and clicking pens and reshuffled papers and dogs under the table because that’s the way it works when we are meeting whenever and wherever we can.
And I find myself often in these meetings wondering what in the world I have gotten myself into. I will either have a dining room filled with two bodies and one skyped-in face arguing and agreeing and praying our way through to a more hopeful and sustainable work in another country with real people with real skills and dreams and aspirations, or I will find myself in a dining room looking across a kitchen, a living room and a den filled with students and adults who are learning what it means to follow Christ into their own city. We talk about what truama-informed care looks like, what it means to view others through a lens of strengths instead of through a lens of shortcomings, and what we are actually doing when we are serving in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods a few miles from my home.
And I look at both of these groups, all people I am falling deeply in love with and flying highly in respect with, and wonder what in the world we are doing. Who let us be responsible for these tasks, and who knows we are learning as we go? I often feel as though I snuck into a grown up world, and the bouncers didn’t catch me, the Deans didn’t notice, and the bosses didn’t pay attention before putting me in these positions.
So knowing that I am leaning into the work at the same time as I am learning it, I find myself most amazed at what God insists on doing through my own ignorance, unpreparedness, and incompetence. We take seriously the discipline of learning and asking and pushing and working, but the generosity of God is the only thing which actually moves us from point A to point B.
And so we keep moving. From dining room table to living room floor, we lean into whatever it means to live out the kingdom of God in León or in Jackson or in wherever in God’s name we end up living something out. We pray we do it well knowing all the while that we are quite a mess.
I went to the grocery store last week in my pajamas and saw three people I know, but not well enough to make a joke about being in my pajamas. I went to a service with church two weeks ago and in a rush had only trimmed half of my beard.
I am what I am, and we are what we are, and while we don’t know exactly what we’re doing, we are doing what we know to do and working to do it better, more effectively, more educatedly, more honestly, more humanly day by day. We are reading and studying and listening and praying our tails off, but we have to move now. It’s worth filling up dining room tables and living room floors for, I would say. It is in breaking bread and coming together that God let’s us know what is next.
We don’t know what we are doing, but he does. And as long as we are diligently working to learn and seek and know more about what we’re doing, he makes the kingdom come. We merely jump in.
Donald is privileged to work with a ridiculously awesome staff at Area Relief Ministries, a local non-profit in Jackson, Tennessee working to alleviate suffering, promote dignity and foster hope in a multitude of ways. He also serves on the Board of Directors with three other very talented and influential individuals for El Ayudante, Nicaragua who seeks to work with the Nicaraguan people to transform the nation. These meeting often end up happening in Donald’s living room and dining room, which make living at Pine Tree worthwhile in and of themselves. Check out Area Relief Ministries and El Ayudante | Nicaragua online.