Learning the Hard Way

Well, I wanted to write a blog last week about some of the things I have been learning in my internship, but I couldn’t nail down one specific topic that I could focus on. To be honest, the event from the past week that kept popping up in my mind was one that wasn’t enjoyable. I kept thinking back to a difficult meeting I had with a community partner.

As I help plan the Bellflower Counts homeless registry week, part of my job is to connect with community partners, in order to gain support and recruit volunteers. Everything seemed to be going well with this particular community partner, prior to the actual meeting. I had spoken with the office multiple times, scheduled a meeting time, and was feeling confident that the outcome of this meeting would be a successful one.The point of the meeting was to tell the community partner about how we are taking part in the 100k Homes Campaign, which is aiming to house 100,000 of the most vulnerably homeless individuals in the nation. With our Bellflower Counts project, we are coming alongside this goal, beginning by identifying and housing 12 of the most vulnerably homeless within our city of Bellflower.

Going into this meeting, I assumed that the person on the receiving end would undoubtedly agree with our mission and think that we were conducting this project in the correct way. But, what I forgot, was that each person is entirely different from the next and possesses his/her own thoughts and methods. How narrow-minded was I to assume that everyone would possess my same way of thinking and approach to this issue? I got incredibly frustrated in the meeting, because the listener was not receptive like I had expected. I was caught off guard, and tried, with all my might, to make my message as clear and explanatory as possible, but it was of little use. I left feeling upset and disappointed, and my supervisor felt similarly. However, what she said to me was, “We should practice delivering our message to each other. We can ask each other the hard questions, and learn to answer them.” Although we were upset with how this meeting went, and I was stunned that someone would not agree with my way of helping the homeless, we learned a lot in this process.

I was reminded to take into consideration other people’s point-of-views and life paths. Just because I approach social justice from a certain way, doesn’t mean that my way is the only way. This trial reminded me of the book of James in the Bible. He begins chapter 1 by saying this:

2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)

James is someone who understood the value of trials. I’m reminded by him that it is within these trials that I learn most and develop perseverance. I won’t give up on helping the homeless, just because someone disagreed with me. At the same time, I’ll aim to consider other ways of approaching my cause. I’m still learning how to live life, how to be a good follower of Christ, how to be a good social worker, and how to be a good intern here at Kingdom Causes. I’ll take all the help I can get, even if it means learning the hard way.


Abbey NishimotoComment