Wildly Improbable Goals

The Advocate began with a grant. One of our stated goals was: “Use the arts to change perceptions of people who have experienced homelessness.” How, the application asked, will you evaluate whether you’ve been a success?

In a moment of honesty, I said to June Averyt, who was the Executive Director, “I want them to read our work and appoint one of our writers to those committees they keep forming to end homelessness.” June said, “Put it down.”

So we wrote into a formal grant application the most wildly improbable goal: “We will know we have succeeded if decision-makers have appointed to homeless policy-making bodies people who have actually experienced homelessness.”

Today, David Waters of The Commercial Appeal asked the Door of Hope Writers for their opinion on the Mayors’ new faith-based initiative to end homelessness.

Can I say this again? The Commercial Appeal asked the Door of Hope Writers—men and women who have a personal knowledge of homelessness—for their opinion on what the religious community can/should be doing to end homelessness.

“The Door of Hope Writers.”

My friend and Door of Hope supporter Brooke Sarden foresaw this miracle. A long time ago, she posted on FaceBook: “I love the Door of Hope Writers!” It was the first time I’d heard us referred to as an entity.

Jennifer Sudbury worked so hard to get The Commercial Appeal to pay attention to us. Just when I’d said to myself, oh, well . . . here comes the email.

“We want to know what the Door of Hope Writers think about this new homelessness initiative.”

I cannot say I had faith or hope, because I never believed it would happen. It seems that the key is to keep plugging away at whatever you think is the right thing to do even though you have no belief at all that your wildly improbably goal will ever be met. But, when it is, you best go outside and kneel on the concrete and thank God that one of you has faith.

Now, who can I give these names of potential committee members to?

Here’s to creative synthesis . . .

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