Although this may be my last message as your director, it is certainly not the first time I’ve told you that my favorite author is and has always been Frederick Buechner. I have a wonderful collection of his books, which I consider one of my greatest earthly treasures. I look for vintage copies in used-book stores, voraciously read and re-read many of my favorite excerpts, and often have sticky notes all over my personal space—desk, bathroom mirror, kitchen fridge, nightstand, steering wheel, car visor, etc.—with some of my favorite quotes. I am a person who needs reminders to do this or that, go here or there, but perhaps most of all, to just slow down and breathe, be grateful, pray, pay attention, look, notice, and breathe some more.
Buechner’s writing helps me do that. I find his words both sacred and true for pretty much all the areas of my life I consider to be most important: faith, family, meaningful relationships, and meaningful work.
“Our stories are all stories of searching. We search for a good self to be and for good work to do.” —Frederick. Buechner
Members of HASP, thank you for giving me “good work to do”. I have learned so much from you.
“If so much as a single one of you were missing, there would be an empty place at the great feast of life that nobody else in all creation could fill.” —Frederick Buechner
I am and have been blessed beyond reason by the relationships HASP has given me. Some of the nearest and dearest people in my life are among you. Some have left us for their eternal home but their wisdom, kindness, and influence in my life is held very dear and not forgotten. Thank you for being a place at my “great feast of life”.
“Go where your best prayers take you.” —Frederick Buechner
My work at HASP has been an answer to one of my “best prayers” in ways I didn’t even fully realize until now. I came to HASP not long after the loss of my mom, which had turned my world and previous career aspirations upside down. Our daughters were just turning two, five, and eight when I started. I knew I still wanted to do some work outside the home, but needed it to be close, flexible, and allow my family to be my priority. The organization and job grew through the years in size, scope, and complexity, just as my daughters did—pretty simultaneously in fact! In some ways we grew up at HASP together—in years, knowledge, experience, and maturity. I’m sure some of you remember those little girls running around the office in those early years with wide eyes at the array of HASP cookies, and the thrill of talking into a microphone or watching a movie on the big classroom screen when classes were over and mom was working late. “Best prayers” indeed—thank you for being part of the journey.
I pray you will continue to be blessed with energy, insight, and a passion for giving, learning, and growing in every season of life. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve such a wonderful organization.
Kim Mendels, HASP Director, 2007-2022