Last May I had the opportunity to visit our card making group in South Africa. They gather every day at the Options Care Centre in George, South Africa. This counselling and care community is full of warm and welcoming staff, counsellors, and people who care for families and young mothers. The card making group has a new workshop they meet in so that they can always have their stacks of dried flowers, cards, and materials ready. They have now garnered something of a world-wide reputation as well.
They might not personally know who treasures their cards all over the world but they do know every morning they have somewhere to go and friends waiting to check in on them. How many of us long for a sense of purpose and community each day?This group of 20 women don’t take what they have for granted. They share the joy and the burdens of their colleagues, they celebrate success, encourage, and uplift each other on a daily basis. If one of their own miss or call in sick too many days in a row, they journey together to come check on each other.
The sense of purpose and community can be a powerful force of healing and comfort in one’s life. The sense of purpose – somewhere to be and something to do – will get one up out of bed in the morning. No matter your economic, gender, employment, or ability this sense of purpose touches your soul. The sense of community also holds us accountable. We define progress with our group, we survive, thrive, and accomplish goals together. Having a group of others to belong connects us. Think about John 15:5 – the vine and the branches, we want to feel connected to others, no man is an island because no man can survive as one.
For the women at Options, I can’t go into the details of their struggles, those are their stories to tell, but I can tell you that the overwhelming sense of community and fellowship in the room was contagious. They were interested in me, the newcomer, who I was, why I was there, what I hoped for, how big was my family, … all personal of course! I was there for business; they were there to learn about me. To my surprise it felt refreshingly human and then all of a sudden I realized I was being ushered into their loving group. By the time I left I had their prayers and joy lifting me off the pavement. I had the opportunity to experience what they hold most dear, their sense of belonging.
The ladies meet to make cards, but they have created more than beautiful designs. They have created a family. They make more than an income, they provide for each other in common with a shared brand, no pride of ownership, just jointly working towards a better life for all their members.
They laugh, cry, pray, and lift each other up – it is such a privilege to represent them in their business endeavours and share the hope and joy that goes into making each card a work of art.
link for video above: https://youtu.be/zozNOR9eRG4