Braid Mission


Witnessing Joy

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Our visit to San Francisco State University last week was awesome and made even better by two factors.

The first was the brilliance of our two guides, Carmen and Darryn. They were articulate, knowledgable, entertaining, engaging and even though they only met each other for the first time that week, they played off each other as though they had been leading tours forever.

The second factor was that the sun was shining. After what has seemed like an interminable amount of rainy days (I know needed and necessary) the sun finally came out and who could help singing The Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Skies.” Spring was in the air and in everyone’s step.

To take full advantage of the sun we ended up eating our lunch, which consisted of sandwiches from Ike’s and which were totally delicious, on the roof of the student union building. There is an amphitheater on top of the roof with a stage at the bottom and then bleacher seats climbing to a wonderful view of the ocean.

As we sat/stood on that roof top in that amphitheater I took time to watch those of us gathered.

What I saw was a sight that brightened the soul more than the reappearance of the sun after a long winter. I had the sheer delight of watching mentors interact with their youth and with each other.

At the time I lifted my eyes I saw one mentor in particular howling with laughter at something her youth had said or done or played on her iphone. The laughter radiated a joy that was infectious as I watched another youth run up the steep bleacher steps as though he was Rocky Balboa. Only to be followed by his mentor who wanted to enjoy the ocean view alongside of him.

This joy was repeated everywhere I looked.

And I knew in that moment that I was being permitted to experience and enjoy a joy which is repeated and experienced by all of our youth and mentors.

This is miraculous at a certain level as I knew the struggles that the youth gathered that day were having in their day-to-day lives, some significant.

But, on a Saturday morning, or a Monday evening, or a Sunday afternoon, or a Wednesday after school, or a Saturday at noon a team of miracle workers come together and hold the space so that the sun can come out and smiles can explode and joy can win the moment and perhaps the day.

And maybe it is not every week. And perhaps it takes a while to figure out.

But it is often enough.

To make a difference in a life.

And in the life of the Universe.