- S P A R K
Near Hayesville, NC
The contrasts we saw last week on our volunteer rebuilding trip to Hayesville, NC were striking.
Riding through the unbelievably rich Fall colors of the North Carolina mountains — vs. — the poverty of the county we landed in being the worst in the whole country. I believe it was around 27% with a median annual income for a family of four being around $20,000.
The sweet, simple, and gracious hospitality — vs. — three folks being laid off from the very lumber yard we were getting our supplies from. Back here in the city, you can find another job, but out in those rural areas, that's it.
And the most poignant contrast, illustrated by this photo, was the absolute devastation that a family can endure, and be impacted by (suicide of a son, $17K+ in medical bills, a deteriorating home, and local food pantries at capacity) — vs. — still having an infectious joy in their hearts and an unrelenting faith at the core of their being. What an immense inspiration.
Joy, joy. Dripping from your heart and from your soul. Nothin' I can do but sing 'bout joy in my heart... oh, my lord. Pick me up. — FD
I know a lot of us, myself included, have things in our lives that feel challenging and taxing. Our concerns are are valid. Our concerns are also no less or more important than other folks'.
Life is challenging. It may feel even more so in our worlds right now. But when we learn to lean on eachother, reach out to eachother, help eachother, and know that we are not alone in this four-letter word called, "life." When we can tap into a basic human compassion, an acknowledgment of our similarities... that we are not rich or poor, democrat or republican, old or young, this race or that race, educated or not. When we can see eachother as vulnerable, equal, fallable, human beings in need of eachother, filled with compassion for eachother. Only then will WE, like these amazing kids in the mountains of North Carolina, also be able to sustain an infectious joy in OUR hearts and an unrelenting faith at the core of OUR being, that no matter what may come our way in life, we will make it.
Our amazing, inspiring, and fearless leader, Julia a.k.a. "boss", played this on the guitar the last night of our trip... "Perhaps Love."
PHOTOS ©2009 Wendy Hudgins