And 8 hours later…I’m here in St. Louis. I’m probably still 4 hours away from KC (morning drive), but tomorrow I will have lunch with my fellow corps members, move into the Q Hotel in KC, and start this crazy journey.
In November, this day seemed unthinkable. It was so distant and I’m still in awe. In writing my “Story of Self” to share at Institute this week, I find myself coming back to chapter 58 of Isaiah. In my last Bible Study back home, a few verses were shared and they really hit home, so I will share them here.
“Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter–
when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins and will raise up age-old foundations; you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwelling.”
–Isaiah 58: 6-12
As much strength as I take in knowing that I am not going to KC alone, I take so much more joy in the promise that is evident in that last verse: I want the people of Kansas City to take ownership and love their city.
I don’t know everything. Not even close. Especially not about a city I’ve only visited once. But I feel that this is the same vision I have for Birmingham: about a community rising up and refusing to let the city they love go by the wayside. And I think the minute members of the community start thinking about saving something they all care about, that’s the minute things start to change.
It has been a really bittersweet day in saying goodbye to my family and sweet friends, but I am so excited to meet my fellow corps members tomorrow! I can’t imagine being without my support system and I am so, so thankful.