Someone once told me a little something about holding a bird. They told me that if you hold a bird too tight, it will try everything it can to escape. If you hold too loose, with your hands flat, the bird flies away, feeling unsupported. If you hold it just right, with your hands cupped to give a cozy spot for the bird to snuggle into, but the freedom to fly away if it so chooses, the bird will snuggle into your hands and feel loved. Well, community, when working well, feels like that cupped hand; and I completely understand how that bird feels when it is held just right.
Halfway through my internship, life happened. My grandma was in the hospital and was about to pass away within a few days or perhaps a few hours. When I heard the news, and my parents asked if I could perhaps catch a flight home as soon as possible, I went to ask the community if they could possibly accommodate such a last minute departure. And they didn’t just accommodate, they jumped to action to help me.
When I cried while explaining the situation, Opalyn gave me a great hug that really comforted me. Walt helped figure out the logistics of how to get me to the airport for the next flight to Phoenix and made room in his schedule to drive me there within a few hours of hearing the news. Even when I left, and I kept in contact via email, everyone sent messages that were just the right amount of support: they sympathized and gave me updates and wished me well without being overwhelming.
When I returned, everyone gave me the space I needed to sort through my emotions, but also let me know when they were available to listen for whenever I was ready to talk. And when I did talk, each person whom I have spoken with has helped me in some way with whatever struggles I have had. Whether I was able to garner a new insight, come to terms with something, or simply be able to release held up emotions, the conversations I have had with each member of Windward have been so influential, and vital, to my growth. I am so thankful for everyone’s love and support.
So, when I think of that cupped hand, I think of Windward and the people here. I think of how I felt with everyone’s support, and how it’s helped me get to where I am today. I have learned so much not only about sustainability, but also about community, how important and helpful it is, and how to be a more supportive person in my own personal relationships. I will never forget the warm and fuzzy feeling that comes of being held by the cupped hands of community, and I aspire to be able to give the same feeling of support for people in my life that Windward has been able to give to me.