Every year of my life, I try to pick up a lesson that becomes a theme. Some of the more significant ones have been:
2019 – withhold judgment
2020 – let go of control to make room for miracles
2021 – travel inward
2022 was a very tricky year to navigate. I once joked to a friend that this year for me was like Murphy’s law having a love child with entropy. I have tried and tried to distill the lesson that I will carry with me into the future. It’s encapsulated in this phrase: seasons of grace.
Our lives are marked by seasons and seasons bring changes. Some are easy and uplifting and some, well, some seasons just knock us off of our feet. When we are in the midst of life’s storms, the best thing to being armed with, I am learning, is grace.
Grace can be understood in many ways. But the most akin to what I mean are these: the refinement of movement but also, the ability to forgive, withhold judgment, live and let live.
As I close my last days with Global Seed Savers Philippines, I am reminded again of the beauty of the heart-centered relationships I have been given the grace to be part of. I am in a season of change but this change has been brought about by the movement of stories, people, and time through me.
My life has genuinely become deeper, more meaningful, and more colorful because of my interactions with the farmers we work with, my teammates, my colleagues, and my friends. I look to the horizon and try to see all possibilities, and my heart is assured that this is not the last time our paths will cross. That’s the reassurance of knowing that our work is not yet done. There will be future projects, collaborations, and advocacies that will call us together again.
Thank you for every smile, every hug, every seed planted, lesson learned, story entrusted, confidence shared, and help given. I am stepping away from GSSP but I am not extricating myself from the warp and weft that bind us in this beautiful tapestry we have created together.
I would like to close as I opened and leave everyone with this quote from Arundhati Roy:
The only dream worth having is to dream that you will live while you are alive, and die only when you are dead. To love, to be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never to forget.
Beautiful farewell address by Karen – congratulations to her for 7 years of outstanding leadership. I trust GSS will find another ED with such passion and skills to maintain all the gains the organization has made, and to further develop it in the years ahead. I remember with fondness my meeting farmers during my 2 years in Cebu as a Peace Corps Volunteer (PCV) (1968-70), and am so happy that my fellow PCV, Sherry Manning, had the vision to found GSS and to steer its phenomenal growth with Karen at the helm in the RP. May the typhoons be few and the harvests be bountiful in the year ahead!
Thank you so much Karen for your love and sacrifices. Great to meet you. May God’s blessing and guidance continually be upon you in your next steps.