By Bob Longino
Habitat for Humanity’s director of creative support management
I know what you did on Sunday.
You either (1) watched the Super Bowl, or (2) avoided the Super Bowl completely.
I imagine most people watched — maybe with family or friends, at a super-size party or sports bar, or perhaps if you were able to cough up $2,200 for a bad seat, you saw the game live in Dallas.
If you did participate in watching, the main question for 2011 seems to be: Did you whoosh up?
“Whooshing up” is a term detailed in the new book All Things Shining by philosophers Hubert Dreyfus and Sean Dorrance Kelly. It refers to the welling up of emotion, the extreme highs and intense sense of well-being that can occur at, say, a sporting event.
I know what they are talking about. I especially remember baseball’s 1992 World Series. Toronto Blue Jays vs. Atlanta Braves. Game six. Bottom of the ninth. Braves behind 2-1. Two outs. At the 0-2 count, Otis Nixon slapped a single to left, allowing Jeff Blauser to score the tying run.
We in the stands went berserk with screams, high fives and cheers. I didn’t know the woman on my left and hadn’t spoken to her the entire game. But in that moment we hugged each other and jumped up and down in joy.
The writers of All Things Shining seem to pose that in today’s secular age, the connectedness and awakening of the senses that come from activity on the playing field or a moment of musical beauty or even, I imagine, crocheting accounts for our moments of spirituality and that humanity’s multitude of nihilistic navel-gazers need to pay heed.
It’s a shame. Because there is plenty the authors either left out or missed. The greatest moments of spirituality and connectedness I have encountered in the past two years have almost entirely involved Habitat for Humanity.
There is an overwhelming feeling that came with witnessing simultaneous, individual gatherings of staff, volunteers and home partners during prayerful dedications at 82 newly built Habitat homes in Thailand during the 2009 Jimmy & Rosalynn Carter Work Project.
I also see spirituality at work in the eagerness with which Habitat staffers take on unexpected challenges. For instance, seeing my video team working feverishly to interview President Carter, then edit and produce multiple instant PSAs immediately after last year’s Haiti earthquake. Or in the last days of January 2011, when, on a moment’s notice, Communications and Direct Marketing staffers and volunteers came to the aid of the print shop and helped hand stuff thousands of unexpected special donor receipts.
Our efforts are part of service to God. They certainly aren’t done for great monetary gain. But they are done as helping hands to the people in the accompanying photograph of 24 Habitat homeowners and family members. These Faces of Habitat — from the U.S.A., China, Tajikistan, Kenya, Thailand, Guatemala and other countries — represent the now more than 2 million people Habitat has helped worldwide.
Their expressions of joy, wonderment and hope should inspire many at Habitat to continue “whooshing up.”