Monday, April 13, 2009

Ordinary Resurrection

Although my blogging fast was successful, I had a mostly busy, ambiguous, unholy Lent. I entered the season with every intention to enter the desert in order to conduct a “fearless moral inventory” and I ended the season relieved that I wasn’t slated to preach the resurrection. I don’t know quite what to make of that.

Fortunately, early last week I received the proclamation I was so hesitant to offer.

Shortly after arriving at my satellite office (also known as the Beverly Public Library) I ran into Jandelle*, an enthusiastic, uber-intelligent young adult who had attended the Beverly Bootstraps Homework Helpers Club I helped sponsor years ago. Although Janelle has the intellect and intrinsic dignity of Michelle Obama, she hails from a challenging family background and a neighborhood that most would consider less than ideal. Her background, along with the fact that I had witnessed a brutish twenty-something bullying her in a parking lot a couple of years ago, left me worried that she would fail to fulfill her potential.

So it was with a little hesitancy that I asked Jandelle what college she was planning on attending next fall.

Immediately she smiled and said: “I’ve already received acceptance letters from UMass Amherest, BU, BC and St. Mary’s, but my first choice is Columbia and I should be hearing back from them within the week.”

Somehow I avoided tears as I congratulated Jandelle and wished her good luck. Then, as quickly as she appeared, she was gone.

When Jesus proclaims a blessing on the poor for theirs is the Kingdom of God, I believe him. For that reason among others I consider it a privilege to empower, and be empowered by, people throughout my workday.

However, in the darker moments, working in social services feels an awful lot like servicing poverty and one is tempted to wonder if all of the hours, dollars and prayers contributed is going to do a damn bit of good.

For that reason, I treasure moments of ordinary resurrection like these. Jandelle’s story serves as a powerful reminder that God is always in the business of bringing life out of death and if I had been slated to proclaim the resurrection yesterday morning her story would have been my text.

* Not her real name.

10 comments:

Tyler said...

welcome back. :)

Anonymous said...

welcome back, indeed. thanks for sharing this...very cool.

i guess all i got out of Lent was that hilarious McDonald's filet o'fish commercial (if that makes you feel any better).

KSC

james said...

Glad you're back at em! good one to start with too!

jjinno said...

Welcome back

Ali said...

This will probably come as quite a shock to you, but I had a very "holy" end-of-Lent experience as well. Saturday night at the Easter Vigil Mass, after many months of preparation and study, I was baptized and confirmed in the Catholic Church. Now I have my first confession to look forward to...

Pixie said...

Ali, you're making me cry happy tears. I have been praying for you so in some respects it isn't shocking but quite expected. Your news brings my heart a lot of joy & peace.

-Kellie

Ali said...

It's nice to hear from you Kellie! And although I mostly hope that my decisions are pleasing to God, it's nice to know that this news was able to bring joy to you, too.

g13 said...

ali - your confirmation wasn't a complete shock. i've always suspected that you were a pilgrim on the way of Jesus. congratulations on your baptism and welcome to the family!

Ali said...

Thanks! Now get back to posting new stuff. Since we now seem to have similar political views, I'm interested to see more of what you have to say...

g13 said...

eh, i try to steer clear from partisan politics on the blog. don't mistake my silence for complete indifference though, and rest assured that i've usually got my O face on.