This is the surprising, existential question floating through my head since the semester began. My roles as oldest child, new mom, and Jewish woman all lead me to attempt to utilize my time to the best of my abilities. Each choice of how to spend an hour is a choice to exhibit a value (what that says about viewing an occasional episode of Real Housewives is a whole other post…). In my entire Hillel career, the highest value of my work has been placed upon hearing the stories of students – who they are, what they seek, what they need, what makes them happy. But anyone with a basic understanding of math can do the homework; I have roughly 35-45 hours at work each week – and following the need to attend meetings, answer emails, and eat lunch every so often – endless coffee dates don’t come close to reaching 3000 Jews on campus.
So what’s a coffee queen to do?
I connected with three students today, each coming from very different corners of campus. One was short on time, busy dreaming big & growing his professional self. The second grappled with how to lead his community, knowing graduation will soon render his role obsolete. But the last one stole my heart, letting me in on the hard questions she’s been exploring in the past months. Each is on a journey; some appreciate my guidance and others don’t really need it. One was thirsty to get things off her chest while another kept checking his watch. Individually, they provoked different parts of myself while listening to the things they chose to tell. But collectively, they left me with a question:
How do I ‘scale holiness’?
Ten years into my career, I don’t ever anticipate a day where the key aforementioned value I shared will change: stories will always matter the most, creating spaces between people that invite the sharing of joy and challenges and questions. And I am blessed to have a job that allows me to create this space. But in entering a new chapter of my life, I’m wondering how to create such spaces on a larger scale.
In what communities are you a part of that holy spaces exist? How do we take the joy & depth of 1:1 relationships and bring this to a larger stage, on a daily basis, cultivating daily meaning at GW?
(These are not rhetorical questions! Let me know what you think.)