June 2015: True grit

I thought I knew FSM when I arrived a month ago. I’ve learned I was wrong. More importantly, I’ve learned that what I didn’t know is at once both banal and beautiful, simultaneously terrifying and profound.

I knew Dave Johnson, his staff, and the FSM boards had, over the past two decades, built an agency with unparalleled breadth of service and a cutting-edge business model. I knew the staff’s reputation for empathy, intelligence, and effectiveness. I knew the face of FSM, the image easily seen from the outside. I’ve since learned that the heart, the muscle, the marrow are so much more.

What happens through FSM reflects the soul of our species, as we face the worst of our weaknesses and reveal the most sacred of our strengths. Recognizing the part of ourselves that lurks in the dark corners of our mirrors requires a rare courage; healing our broken selves and broken relationships demands unthinkable vigor. Barriers of ego, walls of fear, and mountains of scars must be overcome. Honesty about ourselves, with ourselves, is brutal. This work defines true grit.

There are no miracles here, there is only people helping people through the hardest work of their lives. Here, there is restoration, renewal, and redemption — daily, discreetly, and deeply. True grit works. Perhaps it’s all that ever has.

My challenge (with which I’ll be asking your help) is to tell this story and, through the telling, create the depth and breadth of support that will enable FSM to serve this community for another century. At least. Stay tuned.