Rachel Klas, Kirkland Washington, December 26, 2011
I have a job that tends to leave me a bit… tense. So, when I stumbled upon a local arts center, I signed up for Clay 101, joking with myself that the fee was cheaper than therapy. I kept my job, so I kept taking classes, and I found a disproportionate amount of sanity in making squishy messes. Meanwhile, a friend introduced me to Shevet Achim. I loved what they were doing… and felt totally useless. I couldn’t just flit over to Israel, I know only first aid, I don’t speak any Middle Eastern languages, and my finances are insignificant. What could I possibly offer? Eventually, I did get better at working with clay, and I started making a bunch of little people with their hearts in their hands.
I am intrigued by the concept of offering love with an open hand. This is what is so inspiring about Shevet Achim – they freely offer hearts, literally and metaphorically, turning strangers into friends. I got positive feedback on my little people, and someone even commissioned me to make one for them. Right about then, Shevet Achim announced their Local Leader initiative, offering anybody the option and opportunity to find creative and personalized ways to support Shevet Achim. Could I offer something through this? As it turns out, the arts center runs a store that sells work from their students and local artists. I mustered my courage, took some of the clay people out of my top kitchen cupboard, and brought them to the store to be evaluated for sale. The store actually accepted some of them! I made little tags for each one, explaining that all of my profits would go to Shevet Achim and giving the web address. In that way, these clay hearts can raise both funds and awareness for the beating hearts housed in Shevet Achim. Now, I’m not saying that everyone reading this should take up clay or try to sell whatever’s in their kitchen cupboards. I’m saying that I found overlap between a byproduct of my everyday life and an opportunity to help Shevet Achim – an overlap that adds purpose and joy to my everyday life. I’m not sure what all will happen with my little clay people, but I am grateful for the opportunity to do something from and for a heart.