Part of N.C. State’s motto is being globally engaged but locally responsive. For most students this probably remains an abstract concept, fuzzy words that don’t mean much from one day to the next, but for those in the Alternative Service Break program, it’s engrained in every trip: Not only do we have a service project in diverse parts of the world, both domestically and abroad, we also have a service project in our local community.
Last year, before my team went to Belize to build a drying rack with cacao farmers, we spent one weekend helping rebuild a house with Habitat for Humanity. The work with hammers and nails was certainly invaluable experience to get us started.
This year’s service project no doubt has prepared me just the same for Alaska.
Lately we’ve been hung up on a few things–most notably, perhaps, my attempt at reconciling tradition with my personal evolution. The “fear” of the Lord. Sharing words of Torah. All this, all that. Et cetera. I hate the idea that I must “reconcile” anything–saying it like that implies there’s some inherent disconnect that needs to be overcome. If this is what my faith has become, can it still be called faith?
Matters of philosophical importance aside, this week’s teaching sent me straight to the footnotes.
Have you ever had a moment when suddenly everything became clear? I’m made to think of days when you look out the window and you can count every leaf on every tree because, for some way you can’t discern, the sun has decided to shine on every one of them–and you don’t know why, but you count those leaves, each and every one of them, and for days, nothing is the same. You know these leaves intimately, you know these trees. And then the clouds roll in, dawn turns to dusk, and somehow all that clarity is clouded curiosity.
Alas, the epiphany. It comes. It goes.
In writing, there’s a trend–so my textbook would insist–for new writers to rely too heavily on epiphanies to develop characters and move plots along. I’m almost certain I’ve fallen for this at times, but I can’t seem to recall any concrete examples in some of my stories. I’m generally opposed to sudden changes in anything, and epiphanies seem too easy sometimes for me to even want to use them much.