I think I’ve always had awareness that I’m broken. By the time I came to Hope Street I’d seen addiction, abuse, broken families, and I’d experienced mental health issues. I happen to be in a cool generation that is working hard to remove the stigma around these things, but growing up you kept your brokenness quiet or to your innermost circle. I knew the chattery gossip that was whispered in the stands at basketball games or over drinks and I didn’t want my name to be anywhere near it- to be judged, to be pitied. It hurt me to keep things in and it altered my vision of others. When brokenness is kept quiet in your community or addressed only with judgment and pity, it’s really easy to see a community that is known for those things, a neighborhood like the one around 26th and Capitol, as different, bad, and dangerous. For me, most of that othering was just me lacking perspective. Not accepting my own truths. Not truly knowing people outside of my circles. Not stopping in places I was unfamiliar with to learn something new.
I was introduced to Hope Street by family friends and managed to convince Ashley to give me a summer internship. I invested in learning more about Hope Street’s community and hopefully doing some work that would be helpful. I didn’t know what I’d be able to contribute, but I knew I was excited to show up.
I entered Hope Street and brokenness was everywhere. Brokenness was in the air. Drugs. Depression. Homelessness. Incarceration. Self-depreciation. But these things that would normally be judged or pitied, didn’t make the air heavy, foggy, or dry. The air was fresh and all of a sudden I could breathe. I could see myself for who I am. The good things and the brokenness. At the same time I was seeing it, I was also being told that I was worthy regardless. I was meeting people who have gone through some of the exact same things as me. I was building relationships, truly hearing people. And all of a sudden I had this awesome community that means everything to me. When I was offered a full-time position, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind that I’d be taking it.
Now, I know that the work can be hard, physically and emotionally. And Hope Street can occupy a lot of my head space. But I have also come to find out that I could not be in a better place. I have found healing in here. It’s made me a better person. Even the days where I am angry or sad, I’m angry or sad at Hope Street so it’s better. I feel better known by people. I feel better known by God. I know what God’s grace looks like. I know I don’t have everything figured out, but I know I am in a good place to continue to grow. Being at Hope Street, knowing this community is transformative.
I don’t think we often get a chance to see beyond our circles and it morphs our perspectives of ourselves and of others. Shechem will invite more people to experience what I have, so I’m investing in that. I’m inviting you to do the same, to join our community.
(Hope Street Staff Member)
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