AK's Closing Blog Aug 17, 2021

I’ve had a week to reflect on my transformative summer at QC Family Tree. In my last couple of weeks and since I’ve finished, I’ve had a lot of people ask me “what was your favorite part of working there?” or “what will you remember most?”. I can’t say I have one specific moment to sum up my time at QC Family Tree, but I do recall a feeling that I keep drifting back to.

I was lucky enough to see Carolina Social Club (Greg, Helms, Dawn, and others) perform the finale for the Roots Showcase during one of my last weeks at QC Family Tree. After their performance concluded, the energy in the room was electric. “This is what heaven is going to be like!” someone said afterwards. Sitting in that room, full of diverse faces and experiences, the sounds of Dawn’s angelic voice over Greg’s horn and all the other instruments blending together so smoothly, and the lingering smell of burritos from Sabor. This is what heaven is going to be like. This is what God’s kingdom on Earth looks like.

This revelation coincided with my reading of Luke with the other interns in my program. Throughout the summer, we kept going back to the theme of God’s kingdom on Earth, and how once you see it, it can’t be unseen. Luke 17:20-21 says, “The kingdom of God is not coming in ways that can be observed, nor will they say ‘Look, here it is! Or ‘There!’ for behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” The kingdom of God was in the midst of us that day, ringing in the air with every beat of the drum.

I’m now able to look back on other moments of my summer and see the kingdom of God in the midst. Though my involvement with Freedom Schools was limited because of COVID, I was able to attend the finale for QCFT’s site at Independence Park and hear all the kids talk about what they learned over the summer, and what they will take with them. As I watched the kids perform songs about reading to the tune of “The Schuyler Sisters” from Hamilton, I felt my emotions overcome me. I told myself I certainly could not cry when I was surrounded by the kids’ parents who weren’t even crying. But as I look back on that moment, I feel again, that this was the kingdom of God on Earth. I saw Jesus in their faces so overjoyed about their summer of reading and learning. And as I listened to them chant, “Who are we? QC FAMILY TREE!” I felt so proud and so blessed to be part of an organization that allowed this to happen.

A final moment where I noticed God’s Kingdom happened when we were cleaning out the blue house on Parkway so that it could be transitioned to a QC Family Treehouse for our artist residents and community meals. As I was wiping down cabinets and sweeping the floors, I tried to stop and just soak in the situation I was in; the four QCFT staff members, plus friends Quavion and Tracy, doing good work while just singing and laughing. We were all tired and sweaty from moving stuff all day and it seemed like we still had so much left to do. Nonetheless, I felt a certain joy in that house. A joy that I can chalk up only to God. And to the tune of “We are Young” by Fun, I felt God’s kingdom on Earth.