Embrace Living with Rebecca Priest: Rebuilding with the Strength of One Another

Rebecca Priest

Rebecca Priest

Are you tired? I know why. We are “rebuilding the wall” around this organization, and it is real work—mental and physical work.

An avid reader and faithful soul, I often seek wisdom in my faith community. I listen to the wisdom around me: my Grandma, my Mom and Dad, and the elders whom I know in deeper ways. In conversations about this organization last December, one of these wise sages directed me to the book of Nehemiah.

In this short book, Nehemiah, a man comfortable in his situation as cupbearer to the king (a powerful and secure job), was called to repair, rebuild, and restore the safety, security, and power of the community from which he came. Its walls had been torn down from years of neglect, fighting, and distraction from what was important. He courageously followed his “called-to” mission and asked the king he worked for to afford him this opportunity to make his home safe again. He fought off people whispering “it can’t be done.” He rallied his community to stop being powerless. He reminded them to rely on the promise of their creator and live faithfully by building something many viewed as crazy in nerve-wracking times, and this community saw the completion in record time of a restored wall of Jericho.

You and I are called to do this also here at St. John’s. We are, in fact, reconstructing a wall of protection through small homes and support in one another.

We are not individuals buzzing about in our jobs in a vacuum powerless to rebuild the wall of community at St. John’s. Conversely, we are connected. We are deeply responsible for the care and nurturing of each other, and called to repair and rebuild this caring community.

None of us tore “the wall” down. In fact, none of us could. Society changes, reimbursement changes, and business situations change. Our community, however, continues to show its strength. Employees, who have served for 10, 15, even 20 years, come in and invest in rebuilding this community amidst great trials at home or in their individual work. Families who never thought they’d need a nursing home for their loved one come in and host activities or engage in relationships or stop by and say thank you.

I want to thank you, who make up our great community. Ahead of us lies great hope, but more than that, the great actions of rebuilding each other, this community, and our commitment to a meaningful place to work and live—all by the many strengths of our neighbors. This rebuilding is physical roll-up-our-sleeves work. Neighborhood education is where we will build the strength and skills to do it right and lasting.

Thank you for building the wall with me. I am here to serve, listen, and appreciate the community we are today and the one that we are becoming.

“We are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.” (Nehemiah 1:8-10 NIV)

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