The Building of Community in Unlikely Places

By: Fran Davis-Harris
June 18, 2014

Against the picturesque setting of the gorgeous pines stood a 30 ft. slim pole that is part of the challenge course of Camp Berachah. Atop the pole stood a very nervous, young man who kept stating, “I can’t do this”.

At the onset of this retreat I noticed that he seemed shy and reserved. He is not the usual suspect you’d find at an FTE event, but that’s the beauty of being a forum – convening unlikely people to have authentic conversations about their purpose, passions and call.

The object of this challenge was to plant two feet firmly atop the pole then jump with the intention of grabbing a trapeze. He was well fitted with all the safety apparatus that would keep him from falling, yet he felt he couldn’t do it. At the base of the pole stood a group of encouraging young adults. They assured him that they would be there as long as it took for him to build the confidence to complete the challenge.

He lingered there for a moment taking in the thunderous cheers that were lifted to him from his peers on the ground. Then, without much more hesitation, he leapt toward the trapeze and caught it. The feeling of accomplishment was evident by the smile on his face and the hand whisk across his brow. I can only imagine the joy he felt to have accomplished this unimaginable feat among unlikely peers.

“... something always happens to reassure me that my passion and my vocation have intersected.”

As time progressed, this young man became more comfortable with his surroundings and the people who were his peers. By the end of the retreat it was clear that he had found community in a very unlikely place with some very unlikely people.

I witnessed this moment as I was going about my daily tasks as the event planner for the Northwest Leaders in Discernment Retreat. As with many of our events, something always happens to reassure me that my passion and my vocation have intersected. A certain satisfaction rises in me as I watch unlikely suspects come together in a way that is not forced or planned. It gives me great joy to know that I am a part of a group of people who work to set the foundation and supply the tools. The rest is up to those we bring together.

Tags: Inside FTE, Thinking Out Loud


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