To my Haywood Street Family,
Let me begin by simply saying thank you. When I first began at Haywood in June of 2018, I was nervous and naïve, unsure about how I would adapt to a place that is built upon “Holy Chaos”. A year later, leaving Haywood was one of the most difficult moments I have ever experienced. Truly, it is my second home and the place outside of my immediate family that I have felt the most love and acceptance.
Every day at Haywood, whether reasonably calm or chaotic, was a blessing for me as Haywood challenged both me and my relationship with God more than I had ever imagined it would. I remember clearly on my second day of work at Haywood, on a Welcome Table day last June, Pastor Mark massaging and rubbing the feet of one of our friends from the community. He did it quietly, with no need for praise or recognition. It made me question my own faith and willingness to love others as I wondered if I would have been willing to follow his lead. I still remember thinking, “I want to love others like that.” To this day, that is still one of the most selfless acts of love and kindness I have ever seen, and yet, it was one of many I saw the wonderful staff at Haywood quietly do.
I was so blessed to work for and with both the full-time staff and companions at Haywood Street. While I hope I was a helpful and positive presence, I know that everyone at Haywood did far more for me than I can ever hope to repay. Thank you all for teaching me how to love unconditionally through your words and actions. Whether it was by watching Dave at the Welcome Table, Mark and Brian interacting with community members, Hannah organizing the companions, Steven and Wayne in the Mercy League, Chris and Steve cheerfully checking in with me, Laura and Leslie in the office, Michael, Ali, Joe, Mikey, Mary and others in respite, or Brook telling stories, I was blessed to have amazing individuals who both mentored me and loved me constantly. Through joy and tragedy, this group consistently came together as a family, and it is one I am honored to be a part of.
As I move forward this fall at Wake Forest, I will continually hold Haywood with me. By seeing a community of unflinching relationship and unfailing love, I believe that my own faith and sense of purpose has become stronger. I will look to spread the spirit of Haywood Street wherever I go, and I will always look forward to coming back home.
Thank you to everyone who made this year such an incredible growing experience for me. Haywood will always be a place that I call home and will keep in my heart. I truly love each and every one of you. Thank you and see you again soon!!!