Starfire's Walls

Feeling a bit nostalgic these days, after nearly an entire month of being out of our building. Did you hear? We had a water main break — the pipe had been leaking below us for weeks (unbeknownst), and eventually that pool of collecting water came up through the floors, drowning the building.

I found some old photos I had taken of the things hanging on the walls throughout Starfire. Some goofy, some inspiring — each little glimpses into our culture and values as a non-profit.

Do I “miss” the building? I’m not sure it’s that. What I miss is the feeling of being there. Running into other people who share the same values, passing by a picture of Zak Morris or a poster of The Five Valued Experiences – and knowing what creative, important things are happening because of Starfire.

It’s not that I can’t get that feeling anywhere else. I’m learning that actually I might be better off not relying on one building, offset from the road, not entirely open to the public for all of my warm-fuzzy social interactions. While Starfire provides a clear, sure-fire spot for me to go and commune with “my people,” this flood and building close is literally forcing me out — into the neighborhood where I live. My work entails a good amount of time spent writing and staring at a screen, so I learned quickly not to spend all that time at home – instead my laptop comes with me and I go where I’ll run into people. I’m learning the names of the baristas at the coffee place down the street from me. Instead of taking a break at the water cooler, it’s a chat over the fence with a neighbor. I’m starting to see where I’m needed most and the people who matter to me most are not in one building, but all over my community in places and on sidewalks near my home and my family. This is where the long term relationships that will sustain me live. This is where I belong.

The building renovations will be getting underway soon and not too far down the road we will return. Tim has been working non-stop to ensure that Starfire has a rebirth that will do justice to the people with disabilities we are serving and to the mission we are driving toward. Knowing that this flood has been the most difficult for Starfire members who rely on the building as more than just an office space, this time for me has been a process of letting go and moving forward in a more mission-driven direction. My work no longer has walls. Instead it has community written all over it, and that is where Starfire belongs.

katie bachmeyer