Nearly 20 years ago, I gave a lecture in Wisconsin about science, spirituality, and the evolution to love. It was a topic born out of the comparisons between Western science and Eastern spirituality, a topic that had been well-documented for decades prior. And it helped set the foundation for A Wider Circle.
Quantum physics, stripped of the mathematics, leaves you with many exciting revelations, including the understanding that the tool with which you look at something determines what you see. This is often exemplified by the wave-particle duality, where the tools with which folks “looked” were a double-slit experiment and an electron microscope. It is important to understand, however, that the primary tool with which each of us looks at things is our own perspectives, our minds. What we believe determines what we see. We truly create our own reality.
That is why we are so spiritually optimistic as we do this work – because we can be. And because it determines what we will ultimately do. In the work in which each of us is engaged at A Wider Circle, those in horrific poverty need us to be spiritually optimistic.
It is the start of many things now here, and no matter what it takes – how many new programs or changes we make – we will bring that spiritual optimism to the people whose stories and whose lives we change each day.
Someone asked last week at our strategic planning session if we were an organization or a movement. We are both, and we go forward as an organization with the urgency of a movement. That is how we have to move if we are to succeed. And no matter your level of involvement, if you can bring the optimism and belief that we can end poverty, we will do so. It is that simple, but it will take that urgency.
The paradox of belief is captured well in the quote, “Pray to God, but row to shore.” No matter what beliefs or personal paradigm you have, it is the inspiration and perspiration – in equal parts, I believe – that families need.
On Thursday, we met a woman named Karen. She had moved from Pittsburgh to this area after she was robbed. What was not stolen was destroyed and vandalized. She and her children left Pennsylvania with nothing but the clothes on their backs. She then had a house fire and lost everything she had been able to obtain here. Karen’s three girls are 15, 14, and 12. She is struggling and can barely pay for gas to get to work, let alone find furniture for her home.
Karen came to A Wider Circle with one of her daughters and with determination – she was lifting chairs and sofas (along with Gail and our volunteers) to make sure she got everything into her U-Haul. She did. Karen left here exhausted but so relieved to have a bed in which to sleep and a truck-full of furniture to make a proper home for her family.
That is a reality changed.