~ by Samir Selmanovic
During the day it seems that the move to New York is working out. I’m working on it. I don’t have time to worry. It’s at 3 o’clock in the morning that I find myself thinking, “What in the world am I doing?” I stay awake alternating between prayer and an inner argument between hope and despair.
My nighttime agony is not about whether Faith House is based on solid ground. Our motives are reasonably pure, and our theology is coherent and sound. Neither am I worried about having enough endorsers, people brave enough to risk some of their hard-won personal legacy to support this project. They too have deep convictions about it. And neither am I worried whether people in New York will want to become part of this community of faith. Those who seek to grow and see the problem will want to be a part of a solution.
What I lose sleep over is something far more mundane and much closer to everyone’s human experience. I worry about my bills! Yes, those stupid bills. Oh, if only there were no bills. I have two little girls whose life is more important to me than Faith House. If it were not for them, my wife and I would just walk into the city with our backpacks and do whatever needs to be done.
Ever since I started employment in the Seventh-day Adventist church about 10 years ago, I’ve had a stable life working for a healthy religious organization. But, within two months, things will drastically change. For Faith House to happen, I have to walk away from the support system of my beloved church. Not to another church or religion, but into a space between, where I don’t belong to anyone. The dream of Faith House requires that insecure place.
In my bed, worries run through my head and heart like the carriages of a train. Health insurance, a retirement plan, a place to live, schools for my precious girls, savings, health insurance, a retirement plan . . . the loop of the passing train never ends. And I don’t sleep.
Then I pray. I express my trust in God. And then God tells me, “Stop straining to trust me. It is not enough to trust me. You have to learn to trust people. I trust them. It’s like love. It’s through loving people that you love me. It’s by trusting people that you trust me.”
These are hard words. It’s easier to trust God than to trust people. In the past, trusting a few people has confirmed my greatest fears about people. But when I think back on the past 6 months, I know that God is right. People who believe in our God of love, justice, compassion, and peace have gathered around me and my family and given us stable love and support.
And now we have a Family Support Team! They help us with our finances, they pray with us and for us. They share their wisdom with us. They are from many different walks of life, students, architects, pastors, theologians, artists, scientists, from all over the country and abroad. They are “prime movers” who understand that all the good and right we enjoy today began with someone taking a risk. They too are willing to begin something. Not by going to the city with us, but by sending us.
Prime Movers generate, invent, and persevere through the ups and downs of a journey towards accomplishing something that really matters. While most people embrace ideas when it’s s reasonable, safe, and prudent to do so, Prime Movers are willing to look into the future and live it now, arranging their lives and finances in a way that allows them to act in this world with a specific purpose. The Family Support Team has gathered around us, each pledging a specific monthly, quarterly, or yearly amount of money for three to ten years. They are the founders of Faith House.
The Family Support Team has its own blog (soon to be a newsletter) through which I share some of the inner workings of the project, MP3 files, and written material. Once we move to New York, they will also be receiving MP3s or CD recordings of sermons/talks from Faith House, and staying with us when they visit us in New York City from time to time. We will do this as a community.
My nighttime frustrations with God and life led me to believe that reality is relational, and that it is only through people and threads that connect us that the world can be changed. That’s why God always sends us to each other. To love, trust, and hope in one another is to love, trust, and hope in God. Nowadays, when I try to fall asleep at 4 am, I think of people who know God, and face by face, voice by voice, I begin to see God in the world.
If you have not yet become a part of the Family Support Team, and are interested in becoming a member of this team in a way that would fit your goals, dreams, and abilities, please contact me. At this time we have 38 members of the Family Support Team, and we need another 22. This would not only increase the resources but also diversify the base of founders and thus make the project far more stable. As we fill these last 22 spots, I will be able to shift my nighttime prayers outwards, towards the people I meet in the city, loving and caring for others as I am being loved and cared for by God through people. And on it will go. There is no end to what God can do.