Learning the meaning of journey

In recent weeks I have come to the realization that for many years, I have operated out of fear. Fear of the unknown, fear of being called out of my comfort zone, fear of seeing that I actually have more things in common with my friends who are unhoused than there are things that separate us. The path that has led me to my time with Open Table, Nashville has been a winding one and not one that I started down on purpose—rather I was thrown into the path of some of the most incredible humans I have ever encountered and my life and heart were forever changed.

I am finishing up a Bachelor’s in Social Work and in my classes we talk about nice sounding things like self-determination, dignity and worth of the person, and self care. Other times we talk about not so nice things like crisis intervention, trauma, and addiction.

A few weeks ago I was asked two questions in my Senior Seminar

  1. Do all lives have meaning?
  2. Are there some clients that we should give up on?

The initial reaction I had was:

  1. Of course they do!
  2. Never ever ever ever!

I wrestled with these two questions (and the multitude of others that follow about human nature and the role of spirituality in this work) for some time and some days more than other, I still am and I think that is a good thing.

As I rejoice that a dear friend finally moves into housing this week,

As I remember the friend that passed away this month,

As I sit with a friend grieving the loss of his feet…

I think about these questions.

Do their lives having meaning? Of course they do; they are brothers and sisters and friends.

As I am walking through this semester with the OTN team, I am figuring out what “journeying” with our friends really looks like. As I wrestle with heavy questions I am reminded that I don’t have to have all the answers; I am called to simply love and simply love I will.