Kate Adelman, Pastor and Executive Director
If you are like me, then you, too, are inspired by and for your co-workers to be the best possible leader. Together we work hard to come to our jobs with a sense of gratitude, to love one another, to follow the guidelines of workplace safety and fairness, to practice trust, and to take a breath before blurting our emotions.
These best-practices hold all the potential for growing competency, increasing productivity and rewarding innovation.
Think about what happens when gratitude, love, guidelines, trust and self-control are not on everyone’s mind when they walk in the door for work. Perhaps sleep was interrupted by a relative acting out, the baby is sick and the nearest hospital is 50 miles away or a death has occurred in the community and everyone has pooled their food and gas money to pay the expenses.
One thing I know for sure, most of our readers experience life differently than our Navajo friends, yet we hold many things in common.
On our noblest days, we all seek to overcome anger with love; overcome evil by exercising goodness; overcome misery by being generous with one another; overcome the big and little lies by striving for truth. Jesus taught that our noblest victories are not against evil armies, but against our own human nature to dwell on our illusions, judgements, and ego driven thoughts.
In spite of the great teachings, all societies and tribes struggle with the impact of past wounds caused by violence and disrespect. All cultures are affected by domestic, economic, social, cultural and psychological violence, and violence against Mother Earth, our common inheritance.
There are indeed characteristics and practices that are uniquely Navajo, to which the Navajo will remain committed. At the same time, we all share the commitment to call out violence when we experience it, to liberate the captive, and to set the prisoner free. As Pope Francis wisely teaches:
“We are therefore called to a common enterprise: to form the hearts and minds of all, especially of children, to love and live in peace with everyone and with the environment; to teach that there is no peace without justice, and no true justice without forgiveness; to invite all to work together in preventing conflicts and rebuilding broken societies; to urge the media to avoid and counter hate speech, and biased and provocative reporting; to encourage educational reforms to prevent the distortion and misinterpretation of history and of scriptural texts; and to pray for world peace while walking together on the path of nonviolence.”
Through every component of the Mission’s purpose (House of Prayer, Navajo Christian Preparatory Academy, the Cultural Center, community assistance and guest programs) we strive to grasp the commonalities and celebrate the unique qualities. Our hope is that every guest will discover that Navajo people are not exempt from the world; they are a beautiful expression of humanity and possess skills and perspectives from which we all can benefit.
The Mission staff, myself included, are not always perfect in our endeavor to begin our work with gratitude, love, respect for the rules, trust or self-control. Yet we are learning these five things make our day more fun, keep us focused on the community and not ourselves, and model our commitment to our common work.
In this Newsletter you can witness for yourself the results of teamwork and community focus. You may not have thought about it before, but Living Navajo is a privilege – for them and for me.