Clarkston Development Foundation newsletter article

Before I came to Clarkston I lived on the U.S.- Mexico border working to maintain water and medical assistance in the desert where many people die trying to cross to a new life. I stayed in the desert because it was all I knew how to do. I knew that when I left gallons of water in the desert or patched people’s blisters or wrapped people’s ankles it had small implications. Oh did I know that systemic solutions were needed. I knew that my work did nothing to prevent people’s needs to cross through a deadly desert. My work met people in the face of economic systems larger than either of us and paused with them for a moment. I didn’t know how to fix the system, all I knew how to do was to get up each morning and hike the trails again.

What if everyone stopped waiting until they knew how to fix everything? What if everyone just did, with love and humility, the one piece they knew how to do? We have developed traditions of honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. by participating in a day of service. And how do our lives seek justice the rest of the year? I know that dropping bottles of water in the desert does nothing to address the systemic violence at hand. I also know that when I am in the desert and I need water, if someone gives it to me they have done something important. We are not, as individuals, capable of working from all angles. So we must come together. We must each work from the angle that we are able, in the communities where we are. We must notice how we grow from and with one another. We must get up each morning with humility and love the world all over again. This is the best service I know how to do.

“You do not need a college education to serve …you need only a heart full of grace.” (MLK)

-Kelsey McNicholas


Article written for CDF newsletter



2 responses to “Clarkston Development Foundation newsletter article”

  1. maurine pyle says :

    I appreciate your perspective. I once asked a Holocaust Rescuer how she decided to protect a mother and a baby when they were being pursued by the Nazis. She answered, “The baby needed a drink of water.”

  2. mary ann downey says :

    Greetngs Kelsey, YOur words remind me of a definition of faith from Jim Wallis, “Faith is believing in spite of the evidence, then watching the evidence change.” I discovered the quote in the book, “The Impossible will Take a Little While” ed by Paul Loeb, and agree that iIt is so important to offer what we have knowing that it is only a small patch on the quilt of the world that we sew.

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