01/24/2013 08:49 am ET Updated Mar 26, 2013

The Realism of Barbed Wire

Life is made of trade-offs. Understood. Clear. Accepted. But sometimes I wonder that I may have traded off too much for too little. Who would have thought that a meeting of Schwab Social Entrepreneurs would be a place where I could consider the potential imbalance of this trade-equation and be nourished by the thoughts that ensued?

Early one morning we heard from Martin Burt that this community of social entrepreneurs is where we can exposure our hurts: "I am bleeding here, and here, too." And that there is a lot of limping among us who make up this community. But that, we expect: "We have to be ready to leave our skin in the barbed wire," he observed.

It was a breathless moment for me. As have all of us, I have left skin in that barbed wire. And I will have to do so again. Willingly. There is no other way. The wonder of it is that sometimes, just sometimes, I need to hear that it is okay to be torn. That it is worth it. I know this inside, but I am not a self-sustaining ecosystem. I need outside energy from my community from time to time to be restored, even as I glance back at those patches of skin. Ah, but the patches of skin and the drips of blood are so very nearly invisible when I compare them to the scope of change accomplished and to be accomplished in and beyond my life. Our lives.

The Social Entrepreneur community is an unexpected safe place. A place to be open. A place to be moral in a universe that tears at morality, justice, rightness.

Juergen Griesbeck added to the restorative energy when he said "I need to take time for true things." Awesome. I know there are true things, but the urgent screaming things occupy my ears, brain cells and emotional space. True things. Think about them. Thanks, Juergen.

Philip Wilson's transparency and openheartedness to share his unvarnished successes and failures. Amazing. Juliana Rotich talking about the importance and significance of cross-generational mentoring. Awesome and humbling.

This list could go on and on about that morning.

The Schwab Social Entrepreneurs community. Surely a cutting edge group for engendering, fostering, sustaining social change. And a community of people also cut on that edge, reminding each other not to let The Cause become a meat grinder to ourselves, our families, our colleagues, our staff, our partners.

How else to express gratitude than to return to the line of concertina wire, restored, reminded, and belonging to a community of remarkable people who hurt here, here, and just a little here.