June 12, 2020
Fear and hatred are the most isolating forces in our society. Love, compassion, and hope bring us together across boundaries, ideologies, backgrounds, and disparities. Every day, the Maine Seacoast Mission lives our compassion in actions of support big and small. At times like these, though, words themselves are also acts of compassion.
Since 1905, the Maine Seacoast Mission has supported some of the most isolated communities in Maine—from the unbridged islands to rural communities Downeast. With Maine’s vast coastline and sprawling fields, woodlots, and blueberry barrens, we naturally think of isolation as a function of landscape or geography. But isolation comes in many forms and from many sources including economic, social, and educational disparity.
Along with these structural forms of isolation, there is also the isolation of listening and waiting for friends and colleagues to simply acknowledge your suffering. At this moment, and hopefully from now on, the world is shining a light on the suffering of people of color. Of course, acknowledgment only goes so far. Actions speak louder. But sometimes you also have to say the words:
Your life matters. You matter. You are loved.
Since its founding, the Mission has worked to counter isolation and to provide hope in our communities through community building, support for self-determination, and compassion. Lots and lots of love and compassion.
The Maine Seacoast Mission has always been an “Actions speak louder than words” organization. Mission founders Angus and Alexander MacDonald realized early on that love is best expressed through action as they ministered to island communities from a 15-foot Friendship sloop named Hope. One-hundred fifteen years and six boats later, the Mission continues to take action in support of Maine’s most isolated individuals and communities. No matter what kind of isolation they face. And when words are the action we will say the words:
Black lives matter. Your life matters. We love you.
Fear is isolating. Compassion, hope, and love are healing. As with all relationships that need healing, someone has to trust first. To love first. Jesus loved first. So did the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. And every good leader ever.
As for the Maine Seacoast Mission, we will always love first.
John Zavodny, PhD
President, Maine Seacoast Mission