I must admit, I kinda like “the mess.” I think I liked the mess because I used to think I had all the solutions. In fact, I could even design a plan to “fix it” and fix the people I perceived as responsible for the mess. When I got engaged, when I met “those people,” when I saw the face of what I perceived as the mess, I began to see how “messed up” I was. Ironically, when I realized I couldn’t fix it, I loved the mess even more!
I loved the stories. I loved seeing the “face” of the mess, of the kids I had judged, the parents I had criticized and those I wanted to ostracize. Actually, I found I loved just loving, listening and learning. In the face of the mess I found courage, character and resilience that I wished I had. I found hope in what I had thought hopeless. I found that the people I had perceived as the problem were actually the solution.
So picture this: 500+ students from all seven middle schools in a district where 83 languages are spoke (yes, that’s Bellevue!), all in one room, celebrating, literally loving one another at the year-end Sports Champions’ Banquet. Each school’s boys and girls soccer, basketball and golf teams were honored. A representative from each school shared a story of character building; of what it meant to become part of something greater than self – a team. I strained to hear a soft voice. As Marcus spoke, the entire room fell dead silent.
“I have done some very bad things.” Still holding the microphone, Marcus dropped his head and began sobbing. Everyone applauded. Barely collecting himself, Marcus continued, “I’m sorry. My team is everything, it’s my family. I’m different now. Thanks for loving me.” As he turned, still weeping, with his hand over his eyes, the applause built to a crescendo, a standing ovation.
Marcus was a notorious leader in gang activity. A 13-year-old boy, barely 5 feet tall, had found a better way of addressing the trauma of harsh and adverse childhood experiences. A coach and a team caught him. Rather than punish, they ganged up and loved him. I saw the soft face of real celebrity, a resilient, courageous leader, humble himself before 500 peers. A transformed life was transforming lives. The problem was the solution. I love the mess! Hmmm…that would not have been the plan I would have designed.
Club Jubilee student participation grew from 2,221 last year to 3,773 this year. We invite you to join our team by volunteering or investing through Liberty Road Foundation…If we all do a little, a lot changes.
Thanks, your love and support inspires us to enter and stay in “the mess.”
Brent Christie, Executive Director