I love carrots, especially ones straight out of our garden. While this year’s harvest is still growing and last year’s was meagre due to my kids planting procedures, the little ones that did come out were delicious.
A lot of great stuff comes out of fertile soil—it’s one of the great resources we have. Now, that’s a positive view of what some would simply call dirt! When we think about life’s metaphorical dirt, it becomes even less exciting.
One need only watch the evening news or think about tragedies that strike within our families, communities, or our larger CLAC membership. We all end up covered in life’s dirt: loss of loved ones, illness, abuse, marital breakdown, addiction, job loss—the list can be fairly exhaustive and absolutely exhausting when we’re in the midst of it, when we are slogging through life’s metaphorical mud.
Recently, I met with someone who shared their story of a sorrow-filled childhood: rage, abuse, and alcohol. During the conversation, the fellow noted that through this terrible experience he was incredibly motivated to be a great parent, to do it differently, to do it right.
At a young age he was flung into the dirt. Thankfully, along life’s journey, there were others who showed compassion and demonstrated what love ought to look like; who helped lift him up and dust him off. Out of the dirt he grew, determined to do things differently. He was given a gift that he is intentional about sharing, not only with his children, but with others as well. He is determined to show love and compassion, to extend patience even when people don’t deserve it, and to give to others without expecting something in return.
As you think about the dirt you’ve been in, take a moment to reflect on if there’s anything in that experience to be thankful for. Maybe that miserable dirt was actually soil that helped you grow. If out of the mess you can recognize something good, something worth sharing, don’t keep it to yourself; let it be life-giving.
At CLAC, we often interact with people when life is a struggle, whether it be difficult job situations or life circumstances. As an organization our goal is to purposefully meet people where they are at, and in that moment, to the best of our abilities, provide support and help dust them off.
While CLAC as an organization strives to meet these needs, it’s important to remember that as individuals and co-workers we often have the most meaningful impact.
So the next time you come across someone who is struggling, remember the gifts you have to share and meet them in the dirt. You never know what one word of kindness or moment of compassion can do to lift them up, help dust them off, and allow them to grow.