The mobile home park we walked in last Sunday brought to my mind when I got home “*Walk on, walk on with hope in your heart and you'll never walk alone “because as I walked with Mike and Jessica Goldberg of Longmont community Justice Partnership (LCJP) I felt I would never walk alone again. Some of those who we met and shared with were senior citizens who live alone and are dealing with severe medical issues, one gentleman who served our Country and who must journey to the VA health facility in Ft. Collins for his health care needs and yet was smiling when he met and talked and shared with us. And the gentlemen who we met and Jessica enlightened him about the mission of LCJP and Wow! he not only knew of LCJP but had been helped by LCJP several years ago to resolve a stolen car issue, which oh my proof right here that LCJP a great organization resolving issues for the betterment of our great Longmont Community.
And how sad it was that the gentleman who we met who had relocated to Longmont after losing all in the horrible 2013 flood and who got ripped off and who Mike said in affect “I don’t know for sure what I can do but let me see if I can help you” and they will be in contact soon! Good on you Mike! Good on you! for helping this distraught man. And there was Billy who is suffering from severe back and other maladies who was smiling from ear to ear after meeting and sharing Mike and Jessica.
YES! after our walk/s I really felt that that those we have met and shared with after meeting and sharing with Mike that they would walk on with hope in their hearts and would never walk alone! As they belonged!
Thank you, Jessica Goldberg, from LCJP for walking with us your smile and oh so nice demeanor made those we met feel oh so good! And thank you for the photo you took of me in front of the big carved from a tree Bear in the Mobile Home park knowing that I am an alumnus of the University of Northern Colorado (UNC) and a UNC Bears fan. And it also is how I feel thumbs up for our neighborhood walks!
*Richard Rogers & Hammerstein
The tenor of this walk could be “Our trouble and sorrows are no longer secrets.” We discover the abundance of our community not only when our gifts are acknowledged, but also when our troubles and sorrows are revealed. We make them public. They become community knowledge. Making our gifts and our troubles known makes them available for sharing. The range and variety of the troubles we bear gives us the fuel for community and for powerful connection.
Perhaps this means that the connectedness of our community depends on our willingness to share with others what is most intimate and personal. And perhaps “the job” of building community is to make it safe and sacred for personal problems and gifts to come out of the closet. The single parent seeks the help of neighbors when their teenager runs away. The family next door holds a “wake” for the friends and family of a loved one who passed away. Neighbors rally to help those who are struggling with homelessness in their neighborhood. We don’t call the cops; we don’t call bereavement counselors; we don’t call the service specialists. As people, as neighbors, as congregations, as employees of a business, as friends, as residents of our community, we embrace those who are struggling and those on the margin and minimize the consumer mindset that our sorrows and troubles can only be dealt with by the trained professionals. The healing nature of an intimate community can be very powerful!
Dan, Jessica and I walked a mobile home park in north Longmont Sunday. Those we met shared stories of hardship in their lives including various kinds of losses and health issues. The miracle of our walk on Sunday was that Brad, Billie, Tony, Ray, Avis, Robert and Terry were all open to the belief that it takes a village to raise a child, heal our woundedness, and care for those who need. Their vulnerability was laid open for us to hold and for us to help.
When Dan and I walk a neighborhood, we are prepared for a continuum of stories and revelations. We come to a neighborhood with intention and leave feeling welcomed and loved. We never would have imagined that almost every single person we chanced to encounter would be so open and so vulnerable. Our Belonging Revolution has gifted us with the responsibility to hold sacred those inner most feelings and thoughts people share with us. And on each and every walk, Dan and I leave feeling privileged and honored to be brought into the lives and families of those we encounter. This experience is truly life-giving for us. We encourage all to become part of your own Belonging Revolution in your neighborhoods and in your community!
This was the second time I've walked with Mike and Dan. Their curiosity about people is so clear, and I think it is what makes people stop and give them some time. When one flood victim told his story, I was at a loss for words. Mike just kept reflecting what he heard and asking questions until he found a place where he might be helpful to the person - and he did! Dan bravely approached every person who was outside, found opportunity for respectful humor, and always asked about people's experience as veterans. I've met people who were served by restorative justice on both walks because Dan always finds a way to make it part of the conversation.
I drive by this neighborhood every day and I'll admit to sometimes exceeding the speed limit. Hearing the noise from the road and hearing from multiple residents about the dangerous situations they have seen on that road makes me feel accountable to them to slow down and not contribute to the problem. This is a small example of how, when we learn how we affect one-another, it can influence our behavior and feeling of responsibility for our community. This is the same reason restorative justice is effective at changing behavior, not just in someone taking responsibility for crime, but also among all the people who participate with them - their family, the harmed parties, the volunteers, and the police officers. As Dan said we realize we are not alone. As Mike said, when we feel safe to be vulnerable, we build community.
Jessica Goldberg, M.A.. (she/her/hers), Volunteer and Training Coordinator, Longmont Community Justice Partnership