I am an idea guy. When I have a new thought, I jot it down. I have something to scribble on by my bed. My phone stores many lists and incomplete thoughts. I have an "idea book" that I carry with me most days filled with to-do's, woodworking sketches, even the occasional poem. Multiple times, I've considered buying a waterproof notepad, too, since so many ideas seem to come to me in the shower. So when my wife Arielle and I were presented the opportunity to work with CCC, I got excited because...I had a list for that! A list of ideas for community renewal, for revitalization and neighbor empowerment! Since 2009, we've been interested in this thing called community. We wanted to learn how to break down the thick social walls that divide us from the people around us, and we have learned a lot in the Stevenson neighborhood. Things were easy while we were still in school. But gradually, life got busier. Out of school, I started working full time. Arielle and I got married. We had a baby. I still cared about Abilene's neighborhoods but most of my ideas had to wait patiently on a list. I simply didn't have time to implement them until CCC came along. What a blessing it is, as a mentor reminded me, when our passions line up with God's work AND a salary. Suddenly I have the time, structure and guidance I have been craving to do this work. Filled with excitement and purposefulness, I start this new work in the College Heights neighborhood.
But I know that it is not new work at all. Dusty and his family have poured into relationships in College Heights for over five years. And before there was even a Friendship House, God was moving through those streets. I am not the first to care about this work, and I know most of the ideas on my list have already been tried. I guess you could say, I'm not so naive to think I invented the wheel; I'm just excited about getting to help it roll. Maybe I'll even think of new ways to roll it during some shower brainstorming session.
I enjoy the thought of being one of the many people who make Abilene a great place to live. I hope my excitement in this new role can be a breath of fresh air to those who have long labored in the business of breaking down the walls that divide us all from each other and building community instead.