You never know what God will use to help you build a relational bridge with others around you. Recently, I’ve discovered one more way: building a wattle fence for a local community garden. Until a few weeks ago I had no idea what a wattle fence is nor how to build one. If you know me well, then you probably already see the humor in this: you should rarely trust anything I do mechanically and I mass murdered vegetables in my one attempt at gardening. So, I figured it must be God if the organizers of a community garden are asking me and the “Volunteer Wednesdays” crew to build something. (As some of you may know, on Wednesdays I take a crew of volunteers made up of guests from the Committee On Temporary Shelter and the Burlington Emergency Shelter to volunteer with local nonprofits.)
There’s something incredibly equalizing about digging post holes, building fence posts out of driftwood, harvesting then weaving willow limbs, and getting your hands dirty as you work together towards a common goal. During those times of serving side by side no one cares whether you’re a pastor, homeless guy, school counselor, recovering addict, college student, international refugee, or all of the above. I’m continuing to learn that there’s incredible common ground when we serve alongside each other. I know very few people who enjoy the idea of being someone else’s project, but I meet more and more people who regardless of their life circumstances want to know their life is making a difference.