I had the absolute privilege to spend my spring break in Detroit with 5 amazing people living with the Daughters of Charity and exploring different service sites.
Detroit is terrifying. Everywhere we drove we saw houses burned down. We saw people living, selling drugs, surviving on the streets. There was a lot of darkness, a lot of pain. God was very hard to find.
But, I discovered Detroit is possibly the most hopeful place in the world.
Detroit used to be motor city, a city built on machines and industry. That was quickly taken away. Detroit was stripped. The bones of the city stand as testament to a world and industry that sucked out their marrow and then turned away.
There are no more factories. There are no shiny new cars rolling out from shiny warehouses and factories.
It is the people that make Detroit now. When I met those people, God became evident. When I opened my heart to loving God became inevitable.
I met a boy who, although homeless, just graduated high school wants to go to college and law school and move back to fight for Detroit. I met a child who wants to study fashion and who has the voice of the old Mo-Town greats. I met two homeless teenagers who had found love in each other. I heard an ex-addict talk about the power of poetry. I head volunteers speak with the utmost respect and welcome to the people who walked through their soup kitchen lines. I saw grafitti everywhere, testament to artists still willing to put their name, their art, their mark on this city.
Repeatedly, after telling us about the cold and destitute situations they were dedicating their lives to people would say, “But things are looking up.”
“Detoit is a phoenix rising.”
“Detroit is a diamond in the rough.”
Over and over again, I heard, “We are a diamond in the rough.”
Detroit is a diamond in the rough. The rough is tougher than most, darker, thicker than most. There is certainly a lot of work to be done, and we are nowhere near finished. But hope is easy to find when the diamonds shine this bright.
I cannot wait to go back.