Both tears and sweat are salty, but they render a different result. Tears will get you sympathy; sweat will get you change.
Later this week I will leave a fantastic job with a wonderful organization, Habitat for Humanity International. Running the global volunteer programs for a major nonprofit is a big job and for the last six years it’s been a privilege to serve both the volunteers and the families we partnered with.
I learned so much, but one of my favorite lessons is the power and importance of sweat.
Something powerful happens when people work on a physical activity together. At Habitat the medium for collaboration was the building and renovation of safe shelter. Relationships and trust were built as walls were raised. The process of creating the shelter was more profound than the product. Its very true and if you have ever labored next to and with someone, then you know its true.
I have seen it every day in the work that I have done for six years. Mind and muscle together is a powerful combination and one that is amazingly appealing and effective in finding solutions to the world’s problems. Sweat helps to bring about reconciliation, renewal and revitalization. Its transformative, it WILL get you change. Working and sweating together allows all concern to walk humbly together as they seek out answers to complex questions. It encourages everyone to give what they can-contribution of labor and time of resources and ability.
I am a firm believer that transformation comes from both education and action. Corporations are changed when their leadership and employees work side by side with local residents. Families are transformed when parents and grandparents garden, paint or cook with children. Communities are transformed when money is raised for band uniforms, or community watch groups are created. A new vision for one’s life can be created through action, through sweat. What before could not be, now miraculously is done.
Sweat shows that we walked the walked, and through our walking we invite others to walk with us. So I say to you in the words of Zora Neale Hurston- Sweat, sweat, sweat! Work and sweat, cry and sweat, pray and sweat!