In the 1970’s president Gerald Ford recognized February as Black History month, urging us to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Growing up, I don’t remember ever learning about the accomplishments of Howard Thurman, an African-American author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader, so to honor him now, I share a quote from him that is particularly resonant with the Springhouse mission:
“There is something in every one of you that waits and listens for the sound of the genuine in yourself. It is the only true guide you will ever have. Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive.”~Howard Thurman
Part of our mission at Springhouse is to respond to the emerging needs of the world, but that is inextricably linked with first accessing the vitality within us that Howard Thurman is speaking of. I think it’s important to note that what brings us alive is not necessarily synonymous with what makes us happy. I also come alive in challenge and difficulty, when my life forces are turned toward something that matters. I come alive when I do the right thing, even if it’s not the easy or the comfortable thing. Then I can also come alive in celebration! Here, a half century after the first Black History Month, we still have a long way to go when it comes to racial equity, honoring diversity and holding difference. Let us move toward these goals, by first listening to that “sound of the genuine” within, and letting that guide us to life-giving action.
Yours with warmth,
Chris Wolf, Springhouse Fire Keeper