In this shiny fragile messy place…
I am most at home. I got off the plane in Kolkata and felt the most at home I have felt in 5 months. I got to sleep in my own bed and receive the generous and hospitality of my sisters and community in Kolkata. There is just no place like it the entire world. It is as many have commented, a place of peace in one of the of the most chaotic and difficult places is the world. The Sari Bari community is not perfect, it is fact very messy. As my friend and colleague Sera said it is very messy and very beautiful at once. The transition for the Sari Bari community has been difficult and boundlessly fruitful, for those who continue the work in Kolkata and for me as I step into something new on the USA side.
I returned to Kolkata mostly emotionally unprepared.
I had a to do list but had not really sorted any feelings.
What I felt when emerged from the plane was peace and an emotional capacity for both withholding when needed and giving abundantly when needed. This place was and is my home but I’m also trying to make home in am new place. The new place is not home yet and my brain, my body and my souls remember better life in Kolkata than it does life in the USA. I am very messy right now, at home in too many places, and not home yet.
Before I arrived in Kolkata, I had simply set the intention of deferring to the leadership team and creating listening spaces without actually solving any problems. This proved very challenging at times. There were problems I wanted to solve and peace I wanted to bring and it is no longer my role, I had to leave to those whose role it had become. I have a new role and different responsibilities that hopefully will continue to bring about growth and transformation in a different way. My role is to empower and support those on the ground as they make the hard messy decisions of daily life. And to tell the stories and sell the products so the work can continue to grow. So that freedom may continue to abound.
I got my to-do list done, the spring styles were completed and some higher level company management issues were sorted out along with a strategic plan, where we began to dream again for the impossible to become possible, to dream again for a reality that we may never see. Something that feels more true to me now since I have departed Kolkata. I may never see it, I may not be the one to implement it. I am stilll just a sewer of seeds as I always was…the ongoing harvest lies in the hands of others, others who can take Sari Bari to a place I could maybe never take it. And I feel peace about that too. I am just a jar of clay after all, only a vessel that holds the goodness of God.
I have been thinking a lot of Jars of clay in the last couple months. Not the band, but the actual pots, the little clay cups that hold tea and then are tossed to the ground to once again become the dust they were formed out of…its a bit humbling to be likened to that clay cup and profound to consider that this is where God puts the treasure. The freeing gift of being a jar of clay is that it was and is never about me in my fragile disposable state, it is that God considers it a worthy place to work and pour in life, our posture is to receive the gift and then pour it out again in never ending cycles.
I am currently in Omaha, NE getting ready a very full week with Creighton University as they host the Opus Prize event. As you may know I am one of three finalists for the award. I am honored and was a little embarrassed until I got my mind and heart around the fact that I’m just a jar of clay– it was never about me, was always about what God does inspite and in me and my fragile fierce occasionally submitted self. I am nominated with two amazing people, an Aussie nun who has given 30 years of her life to vulnerable people and a Priest who has dedicated his life to providing education and opportunity to refugees. What God has worked in and through these two has changed the world and it changes me and inspires me just to hear about them. Jars of clay all.
Still shiny fragile and messy all at once in my jar of clay. Thankful to have had time Kolkata and thankful to be here now. And thankful for for all the shiny fragile messy people who I have had the gift journey with along the way.
In this shiny fragile messy place…