Here’s a guest post by our Moontree Studios Programs Coordinator, Matthew Celmer. Matthew joined our community earlier this year and has brought tons of new energy. He’s committed to the Mission of the Poor Handmaids and he’s also relentlessly positive. We are very glad to have him on as a leader at The Center at Donaldson!
It’s funny how we can become used to things that are part of our daily lives. Even remarkable things can begin to feel ordinary if we are around them enough. In my short time here at MoonTree and The Center, I often catch myself slipping into a familiarity with my surroundings that can tend towards an under-appreciation.
In my role at MoonTree, I have the benefit of showing first-time visitors around. This interaction is a frequent reminder of the wonder and awe I experienced the first time I came here. Seeing our world through the eyes of people witnessing the amazing accomplishments of the Poor Handmaids community is crucial in contemplating the theme of the 150th anniversary; Blessed Past, Vibrant Present, Empowered Future.
In September, The Center at Donaldson participated in the inaugural year of the Northcentral Indiana Branch of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) by hosting a tour of MoonTree Studios and an eco-walk (led by the capable administrator of this blog). With over 20 attendees from all over Michiana, and one all the way from Louisville, it was a successful event that brought new people together centered around the theme of sustainable building practices.
For those of you who may be unaware, the USGBC developed and oversees the LEED program which is a green building rating system. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Their mission is, “to promote sustainability-focused practices in the building industry.” It is through following their New Construction v2.2 certification process that MoonTree Studios was honored with their Gold Certification. The first, and still only, building complex in Marshall County to do so. (There is a LEED Gold Certified home in Culver as well, but the certification is different.)
This was a big deal in 2010 and still is eight years later. Those who attended the tour reminded me not only how lucky we are to have these buildings, but how much further we still have to go as a community and as a wider society. The tour guests were a diverse group of individuals with a diverse range of experience and skills, all brought together by the common desire to build better things. In order to understand how to accomplish this, one has to research past, present, and potential future building practices and methods. What we have here at The Center is a wealth of information that can serve that very purpose.
It was nice to see MoonTree and The Center through their eyes and listen to their questions, especially the ones that made me realize how little I know about this place. What of our own wonders do we under-appreciate or even outright ignore? What questions should we be asking? What lessons should we be learning from our own blessed past and vibrant present in order that we can ensure an empowered future?
Our future will be empowered only to the extent that we live vibrantly in the present, by opening our eyes to the gifts and wonders around us as if we are seeing them for the first time, and act in accordance with the blessings of our past, by not taking for granted what has been bestowed upon us. Community is about shared responsibility. We are all responsible for what we do now and how that will impact our collective future.
What a great down-to-earth philosophical/theological commentary. Many spiritual masters have posited that it is only when one sees “as if for the first time” that we are anywhere near the kingdom of God. Uncluttering of the mind and spirit has a lot to do with relating to divinity which has a lot to do with relating to the Earth community. Reflection and absorption of this kind is the sustenance we need to sustain ourselves and our “beloved community” in the pursuit of sustainability.