Monday, March 29, 2010

Lenten Series #34: Spring Break Service Trip - Friendship

When planning this trip, I depended on friendships that I have developed over the years. There were many people helped to make last week successful. It was great because I only had to make calls and folks came through in big ways. For instance, the church we stayed in was the church of a grad school friend.  She serves as Associate pastor and Minister to the youth. She allowed us to stay in the youth center which was adjacent to the main church building. She was very hospitable and even hosted us at her home for dinner on Friday. There were so many friends who offered their services last week. They engaged with my students by sharing and listening to them as they grappled with the issues at hand.  When I am at in Grinnell it is hard sometimes to remember all the friendships that I have made through the years. My mother taught me a long time ago to never burn bridges because one day you just may need them. Returning to ATL reminds me of how God has placed people in my life and although we may be far, the friendships remain and are cherished just as though we were in the same city all the time.  I know I posted these thank you’s on my facebook page, but I think it is appropriate to highlight them here as well…

Thanks to Elizabeth Lobello, for hosting us at her church and her home, She is a great friend!!! Thanks to James Henry Alexander, Katrina Moore, Jason Myers, and my Baptist colleagues for sponsoring a lunch for us. And thanks to my other Candler friends who came to the lunch and shared with my students (Katie Klosterman, Juana Jordan, Quentin Samuels). Special thanks to one of my favorite professors, Dr. Gregory C. Ellison II for your wisdom and sincerity as he shared with us! They are still raving about his presentation and your thoughtfulness. Thanks to Joseph McBrayer and Emory's Wesley students for hosting us for afternoon snacks. Ann Kathryn Bass-Lister and Ron Lister for connecting us and hosting us with Open Door Community. Thanks to Shannon Gatewood for sharing public/mental health issues around homelessness, and Amanda Garvin for sharing dinner with us on Friday. There were people who helped me initially as I decided what places we would go (Dianna Williams And Carmen Thompson, and my friends who responded to my FB request through a status update). Last but not least, I also want to thank my boss (Deanna Shorb) for supporting me and giving me leeway with the planning and implementing of this project. Also to Cheryl Fleener-Seymour (our Admin Assistant) for your encouragement and help with logistics, I am indeed grateful. If I am missing someone, please charge it to my head not my heart. THANK YOU ALL!

Before we arrived and during our stay in Atlanta, I tried to emphasize to my students the importance of maintaining a good name so that people will want to help you when the time comes. I don’t take for granted the blessing of having wonderful people in my life.
When it comes to friends, I never really had just one set of friends. Over the course of my life, I have found that the Almighty has surrounded me with many friends. There were times when I had a few close friends, but for the most part my friendship circle has been wide and continues to be stretched far. Plus occasional, You know... the church friends, school friends, seminarian friends,  science/math friends, black friends, white friends, international friends, brothers, sisters, organizational friends, etc. When asked to describe my friendship circle, I would always say that there was never one person you could call to find out what I was up to. I have tried to stay out of cliques while continuing to make new friends. The hard part of this is that it at times gets lonely. I find that I have to call people rather than being called.  Living in Grinnell is hard because I really don’t have those close friends as I had back in Atlanta and Baltimore.  My co-workers are great, but it is hard being the only black single young (under 30) professional.  Nevertheless, my trip to Atlanta gave me strength and a reminder of the many friends I do have and how blessed I truly am. 

Peace, Love, and Prosperity, 

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