Meditation by Lori Watts
I joined High Country United Church of Christ (HCUCC), in addition to Pullen, shortly after I moved from Raleigh to Boone almost nine years ago. HCUCC became my second faith family next to Pullen. Both communities of faith have allowed me to live out my faith in the progressive tradition I hold dear. To me HCUCC, in its 12-year history, has become a miniature version of Pullen.
Following graduate school at Appalachian, I began work as a housing coordinator in mental health and substance abuse, a position spanning seven counties of the northwestern North Carolina mountains. This social work position has its highs and lows. The lows are when resources I have to offer continue to dwindle, are constantly full with long waiting lists, and have restrictions that limit people’s opportunities. The highs are when you let a homeless person living in her car know that she’s approved for rental assistance and to start looking for a place to live and you see the gratitude in her eyes. My work is stressful, frustrating, busy, helpful, heartbreaking and eye opening to how those least of us live and fight for survival in rural homelessness.
Church is my refuge that gives me strength weekly to return to work to help however I can. Our interim pastor Nancy Sehested reminds us weekly to: “Look around this room at these faces; we are going to need each other this week.” My faith families challenge me to be my best self, contributing to this world to make it better despite the barriers. My churches give me insight into thinking about what I can do for peace and justice in the world, to be in open and affirming communities. My churches help me practice my grandmother’s motto in life – Let your light shine with kindness.
During the season of Lent, daily meditations from members of the Pullen community are being posted online. Subscribe by email at www.pullen.org/category/meditation.