I believe Agape offers something that has become so rare in our world today. It offers peace. The community exudes acceptance and love. My grandmother always used the word “Selah,” which, in the Psalms, is a brief period of rest after the song is over in order for the listeners or readers to take in what they have just heard. Similarly, I believe this weekend trip to Agape served as a time for all of us to find our own Selah: to turn off phones, forget about school and focus on the here and now. We lived off of the land. We picked our dinner. This whole weekend pushed us enough out of our comfort zone to realize how wonderful life is outside of our preconceived ideas of what our “circle” or zone should be.
Not only were we able to find this rest, we were also able to have conversation and to grow in our understanding of those who are both different and the same as us. Brayton shared that “nothing is saner than working the land,” and I definitely found this to be true. There is something so beautiful and foundational to life that comes from working the land. It makes you feel alive. Fostering life and using it and then returning it through compost- it is a beautiful cycle that nourishes the soul.
And although I have my calling as a nurse and I may not be able to live the lifestyle of Agape, I believe it is crucial to bring some of what we learned at Agape to your everyday life. Put your phone down for a few hours to read a book. Compost. Spend time outdoors. Start the day out with prayer and reflection. Find your community. I believe everyone has different path and in order to find both their happiness and fulfill their calling, they must discover this. I pray that one day we all can discover what our calling is as you at Agape have.
I would like to close with a Pueblo Prayer that I love dearly:
Hold on to what is good,
Even if its a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if its a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if its a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if its easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone from you.
Hannah was a student leader of 11 college students from St. Anselm’s College, Brayton’s Alma Mater, who spent a service learning weekend at Agape.