This Sunday four of our staff team will be running 13.1 miles from Newcastle to South Shields, raising awareness and money for Oasis Aquila Housing. If they are anything like me, our Great North Run team of runners will feel acutely the fact that a journey from A to B can be a long and hard road. Our runners will dig deep, they will keep going, they will take the jelly beans, the water, the orange segments and the encouragement from people they do not know but who, by being there at the side of the road for that 13.1 miles, become their source of fuel for the journey.
The journey of our own lives, the story of our own lives is not so different. At any given point our lives can feel impossible, relentless and progress can feel slow. We need people around us who will show grace, and more grace; who will not give up on us; who will cheer us on, remind us that mile markers are being passed and that another is just round the corner; and whom, when we have all but stopped, will get us running again, and run alongside us for as long as is needed for us to believe that we will make it.
At Oasis Aquila Housing we exist to travel the journey with people who have some of the hardest roads to travel, and frequently the fewest people walking it with them. This may mean that we work with people at their most chaotic, their most volatile, their most vulnerable and at times their most difficult. We are committed to persevering with them, journeying with them and we can only do this by offering grace and by being tenacious: Grace when people are not easy to work with, tenacity when they don’t move forward as quickly as we hoped. Committed to remaining there for people not just for a moment but for the journey.
That is perseverance.
On the long journey of change Oasis Aquila Housing will be an organisation who have the vision collectively and individually to persevere, believing that the future can look different to the past.
We were recruited to our posts in part because of the skills and experiences we bring, but also because of our commitment to persevere with people. Many of us have needed people to persevere with us, as we did the slow painful business of changing our own lives. We use this experience as a deep well from which we draw the grace and the tenacity to persevere with others. I was reminded of this when I watched this interview with Mark, our staff member heading up the Expert by Experience group for Fulfilling Lives. https://youtu.be/YlYvW3E867w
We all have a story to tell.
We have all had to persevere through the dark days in our own lives.
We have all needed others to show grace and stick with us.
So we use our stories, and the story of a God who stuck with mankind, to choose to persevere and journey with people for as long as it takes.