Summer Intern Reflection Week (Day 3)
Dignity and Change
by Donisha Webb, Harding University
Wisdom is sweet to your soul. If you find it, you will have a bright future, and your hopes will not be cut short. Proverbs 24:14
For me, this summer turned out to be a learning experience. I will apply the lessons I learned throughout the rest of my life. I want to quickly share two major lessons that I learned this summer (hopefully gaining some wisdom too).
One night, after we had taken a group of our friends bowling, I had a conversation with two young guys who were new to the Denver streets. I asked them about their first three interactions with Dry Bones (bowling, a home cooked meal, and a movie). The one that talked the most was “Hank.” I asked him what he thought, expecting a nonchalant answer like, “It was good,” or “We liked it.” Instead, he blew me away! He said he hadn’t been to an actual movie since the fourth grade, and that he had had so much fun bowling. But most importantly, he said that the meals that Dry Bones had provided and the real conversation had made him feel human again. I began grinning so big. I think I freaked him out a little bit. Knowing that he had experienced a sense of restored dignity made me so happy. He, in turn, gave me the confidence to continue sharing dignity, being vulnerable, and engaging others in real and genuine conversation for the rest of the summer. I plan to continue looking for ways to restore dignity among others as I now return to school.
The second theme that I thought a lot about this summer had to do with conformity versus actively following Christ and experiencing the changes in my life He wants to bring about.
Growing up in a Christian home was definitely a blessing. But, I have often found myself trying to follow the ways of Jesus as a checklist of rules and behaviors, not a lifestyle that should be lived. I also found myself trying to make my faith identical to that of other Christians who had taught me throughout my life. This is not completely a bad thing, but I don’t think that being a Christian calls for simple uniformity or conformity. Following Christ looks different for everyone.
My mentor’s name is Reba Lee and we come from different walks of life. She is truly someone I view as a follower of Christ, lover of people, and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I have realized that I have been trying to imitate her and her faith instead of gaining lifelong wisdom from what she was teaching me. I was simply conforming without changing. I am realizing that there is a fairly thin line between conformity and true change.
This summer, I didn’t want to just conform to the ideals of Dry Bones, I wanted to change! And I believe that is exactly what has happened. Hank and many others have taught me so much over the past few months. I know I’ll forever live out the lessons that I’ve learned this summer, and I’m extremely grateful.