Can Things Really Change?
Often we can catch ourselves thinking that something outside of ourselves will come to solve the difficulties in which we find ourselves. A new leader will be chosen. A new policy will be set in place. A law will change things. We wish!
Transformation happens from within.
It takes consciousness, commitment and lots of hard work. In the years I’ve spent working with and volunteering with Adelante Mujeres, I’ve witnessed transformation. It has some consistent characteristics, it seems to me.
Transformation always involves a choice to make a change. At the beginning of Adelante Mujeres, it meant several women leaving a pattern of isolation and coming together weekly to engage in common activities, to share stories and to come to know one another. Then came some shared learning. Then shared dreams. Out of all that was born a new reality: a program of education.
The transformation that had begun as an individual choice to change had only come to fruition in community. It seems to me that any individual transformation can only happen when people are in relationship. It is in community that one finds one is not alone. Others see me; they call out my gifts, they challenge my limits, they support and celebrate my growth. I, too, see, call out, challenge, support and celebrate others. Perhaps there is no transformation at all except that which is shared.
Those who experience newness, strength and potential within themselves; those who see it in their companions, carry that transformed self, tender though it may be, to others. First to their families. Can relationships change? Yes. Can families change? Yes. Is it easy? No. Is it sudden? No. Is it worth it? Oh my, yes.
Over the years, we of Adelante Mujeres have witnessed transformation after transformation, rippling out in on-going circles, touching others.
Adelante Mujeres has also undergone transformation after transformation, always from within, always out of the creativity, commitment, and dreams of the people themselves. That which comes from within takes root, grows and develops -- as all real life does.
That which outside of us can move us, can challenge us, can frighten us, can intimidate us, even. But only that which is deeply within us has the power to transform us -- if we have the courage to recognize it, to speak it, to embrace it and to share it.
Let none of us fall into the fallacy that someone or something from ‘out there’ will save us from the failure to realize a future full of hope and joy. That power lies within. We need only to tap into it, together.
Sister Barbara Raymond has been a member of the Sisters of the Holy Names since 1960. After spending many years teaching in Catholic elementary and secondary schools, she has lived and worked in Western Washington County since 1992, when she came to Centro Cultural, from which she and Bridget Cooke set out to begin Adelante Mujeres.