Building a community wellness program reminds me of my recent experience knitting my grandson’s sweater. Here I was happily knitting away, almost finished with the body of the sweater, when I realized the front was completely wrong. To fix the problem I had to take out days of work. As I was unwinding and pulling out the thread, wrapping it into a new ball, I was smiling. I learned something new.
When we were building programs in Afghanistan in 2002, we were working with a very large non profit organization. Nina Joy and I thought that would be where we would end and where programs would grow. But we were wrong. We ended up working less with nonprofit organizations, and more with the government of Afghanistan and their teachers. Our programs have many stops and starts (and, at times, even reversals) but they always move forward. Just like that sweater.
We were always learning, improving, changing, and growing. Working with the Quakers from 2002-2009, we were able to reach more families and children and teachers and communities then we might have if we had continued working with other nonprofit organization.
So these day-to-day processes – between focusing and me, between knitting and me, between community wellness programs and me – all mirror each other. Next time, maybe I will be more patient with myself and with others when things don’t seem to be working out, because I know it’s not a setback, it’s a process. And it’s the process that permits growth to happen. In myself, my knitting, and in the community.