A Metaphor…

Last weekend, Jordan, our friend John and I all saw the Hanging Garden exhibit at the now-deconsecrated Holy Cross church in Mt. Adams. The church itself has been sitting in deconsecrated disuse since the 1970s when the monastery closed and the parish merged with Immaculata a few blocks away on Guido Street. We entered the church and were greeted by chanting monks adorned in rich orange robes, harmonious and discordant voices echoing against the barren and weathered walls. I’ve thought a lot lately about how to improve the spaces within we work, how to improve the work we do. It’s part of the wonderful culture of freedom and trust of Starfire, the ‘yes…and’ dialogue that’s encouraged, expected of all of us. I attended the first of many strategic plans on Tuesday, and I’m excited again to see how tonight unfolds. One question in particular reminded me of this exhibit, ah the beauty of serendipitous experiences! The question was: It’s 2019, how has Starfire changed? How are lives different? What changes have taken place? What’s better… and so forth. 

While my small group had great ideas, (more power, more person centered plans, less barriers to being involved, more neighborhood based events, and so on…) In essence, I hope the future of Starfire looks a lot like the picture above. It is a perfect metaphor for Starfire. It is hopeful when out of aged spaces (or ideas or ways of always doing something) comes beauty, new life, and a gathering. It is also important to note, that sometimes the beauty is too much for others, and they turn away, unable to share in its light.  That’s okay too.

Notice how the walls in the background aren’t perfect. No one has tried to fix the exposed beams above, no one has painted over the imperfection of the historic church still sturdy after years of disuse. Instead, therein the flaws and the visible details we wished were preserved better, is a reverent gratefulness for the past, our foundation, and unexpectedly, and illogically a tree. The tree is a burst of life, hope, ideas, and growth from the source of our something beautiful, simply, made more beautiful.  A closer look shows the new life connected to the wilting lower tree.  Connected, entwined, and not forgotten entirely.  In fact, the new tree needs the roots of the old tree to survive, to hold it’s trunk up, to sturdy it’s new branches.

Candice Jones Peelman