What We Can Be

[written in Baltimore, MD, and read at a prayer service before my departure as a full-time volunteer to Nigeria]


Colorful. Bright. Vibrant. Beautiful.
These are often characteristics of mosaics, the artwork comprised of glass varying in size, shape and color arranged in a captivating design. The pieces of glass usually share little in common aside from the fact that they are just that: pieces of glass. In fact, the diversity represented in mosaics is precisely why they are so appealing; their radiant medley enchants us.

Colorful. Bright. Vibrant. Beautiful.
I believe these are also the characteristics of the life god intends for us, an eclectic collection of all this world is made of: people, nature and spirit. Sometimes we have few similarities with one another, and seemingly even fewer with the wildlife we share this planet with. Again, though, it is the richness of these distinctive qualities that make this life so precious. I believe god created us all as our own pieces of glass and that we are meant to shatter these pieces into pieces smaller still that we are meant to exchange with one another.
I share a piece of myself with you, and you in turn share a piece of yourself with me.
And so the exchange continues until we are each of us mosaics within ourselves, ultimately combining to create an even more brilliant mosaic for the world as a whole.

This image of a global mosaic inspires me. It gives me hope, and it is with this hope that I serve. Hope is both the catalyst and the consequence of my serving: it nudges me to begin exchanging pieces of myself with others in the first place so that when I serve, I break who I was in order to become who god wants me to be. The uniform, unvarying, and quite truthfully, dull, piece of glass I started as has the potential to become a dynamic, animated and stimulating piece of art arranged in intricate and intimate connections. Hope motivates me daily to continue these exchanges and connections, trading stories and souls alike, and universally being made better for it. So when I see an ever-evolving mosaic in my reflection, I end each day of serving how I began: full of hope. I persist in my hope that we will all become our own mosaics of service and love and that we will all unify into a magnificent mosaic for god.

The words of Charles Ringma resonate with me as I simultaneously serve and construct my mosaic:
“Hope helps us to see the present with new eyes, eyes that see how things can be different. And hope can then propel us forward, for we see what we can be.”
Hope helps me to see exactly what we can be:
Colorful. Bright. Vibrant. Beautiful.


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