What happens when a dreamer can no longer see? When a world, once vibrant, fades into dull colours with no distinction? With no destination there can be no strategy. With no strategy there can be no intentional impact. With no impact we wander aimlessly hoping to magically see an undefinable change in the places that burn on our hearts with an unquenchable fire.
That was me when I joined the Innovista team in 2013 – a shadow of myself, waiting on God for the “what next” and “will I ever see again?”
So I jumped into helping facilitate Rise and putting together curriculum for it. The plan was for me to also eventually help lead Tempo groups too. In order to facilitate well, I wanted to become a participant first so that I could empathise with the position participants are in when I lead. Little did I know that God would use my experience in Tempo to unlock sight again. In fact, I am pretty sure the group thought I was an emotional basket case when it finally happened – messy, ugly tears and all. It was during the second module when we had to share about the contexts we were working in. Forced into describing in detail one context in Dublin, I turned to one I know best – the north west inner city. After all, I had lived and worked in it for eight years at that stage. I had been adopted into homes and families and watched as it transformed throughout the noughties and early 2010s. When forced to choose one area, it was all I could think about, as if permission was finally granted to dream for a part of the city I already loved. The dam was broken and dreams started to flood my life again.
Do you dream? Do you dream of how your streets would be different if heaven really touched earth? Does it light a fire of love in your soul for the people around you? It is distracting.
Dreaming is not enough though. Change takes action, strategic action. When working in partnership with God it takes more than well thought out plans, it takes inspired plans. It takes character development, boundaries, health, conflict resolution and the ability to propose and navigate change. So, over the last couple of years I was able to help Innovista develop several workshops in partnership with respected Christian leaders in Dublin. The aim was to help others like myself, who are trying to lead well by providing them with relevant learning experiences that set them up for stronger leadership.
Meanwhile, I was taking small steps in faith toward work in the Smithfield and Stoneybatter area. In one of the Tempo modules we talk about stewardship. I am a big believer in using what we have in our hands well. When thinking about what I had to contribute right here, right now to the community, I thought about sewing. It was a bit of a blind faith walk for me. I didn’t even know if anyone wanted to learn how to sew and, although I had been sewing since I was a kid, I had never taught it before. I gave a test run in my church, St. Catherine’s on Thomas Street, before starting with a group of parents in a school. Those went so well that people kept asking for more and more classes! I was able to purchase eight sewing machines to teach with. Tempo finished and my Smithfield creative partner in crime, Laura Pettit, and myself decided it was time to become a little bit more legitimate in the community with what we were hoping to do. That was the start of C Squared Centre, a place for community through creativity; creativity through community. Needless to say, I love it!
It is with thanks that I am moving into more full-time work in the community again with C Squared. Thanks to Innovista for taking me on board when I was a shadow of myself. Thanks for them for being a safe place for me to rehabilitate into who I am and releasing me to pursue the dreams God has given me for the city.
In this final week with Innovista I think about you, who also long to see, who want to use the best of who you are to inspire life, real life, full life, in your neighbourhood, your faith community and our world. What is it that you need? How will you get it? You don’t have to walk it alone…