White Violet Center for Eco-Justice summer garden intern, harvests raspberries.

Harvesting raspberries this summer in the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods gardens.

I first learned of White Violet Center from a sign on Interstate 70. I attribute this to providence, but perhaps it could just be effective marketing.

I came here for the summer to learn how to farm and, perhaps more importantly, to learn how to bring hope and healing to a broken world as a broken person. I wanted answers, and, as a Ph.D. student, research was an appropriate way to couch my questions.

For my intern project, I interviewed those involved with WVC about their conceptions of eco-justice and eco-spirituality to see how people who know and care about what is happening to the world cope with it.

I was disappointed to learn that there were no easy answers. There was only ongoing struggle and hard work and beloved community. And that seems to be my lesson for the summer.

We can bring hope and healing to a broken world and to our broken selves. But they only come with struggle and work and community. And a good dose of laughter.

All of the work that we did this summer was punctuated with so much healing laughter. It reminded me of a Buddhist saying, “Act always as if the future of the universe depended on what you did, while laughing at yourself for thinking that whatever you do makes any difference.”

I leave WVC filled with gratitude for so many things, but mostly for the sense of community that came from working everyday with people who care so much and work so hard to heal our world.