Thursday, June 21, 2012

do good.

One morning when I was in third(ish) grade, my Daddy drove us to school.  Against the backdrop of Scotty Rhodarmer on WWNC, Daddy slowed his car down to offer help to a man walking along the road with his young son.  Now, where I went to elementary school, people did not just walk along the road.  Daddy knew there had to be some reason this man- and his son- were walking... as he noted to me that there had to be another reason they didn't have on coats.

Daddy offered to take the man and his son to school.  The boy, my brother, and I were dropped off, and quite honestly, I don't remember to this day who he was.  I'm not sure if he was a kid I ever saw again, or he was one of the "big" kids who I didn't know.  Or, maybe it was one of you.

After dropping us off, Daddy found out that the man's car was broken down (hence the walking along a non-walking-friendly road) and he couldn't afford to have it fixed until payday.  He told Daddy that times were tight and he was trying to make ends meet.  This was not a cry for help- he was merely telling his story.

But Daddy wasn't just a listener... he was a do-er.

As they stopped for coffee, he called his office and told them he wouldn't be in that day.  They first went to a garage where the man arranged for his car to be towed and repaired.  Then Daddy took him shopping.  The man (humbly) accepted Daddy's offer to provide a coat for his son, but Daddy didn't stop there.  He outfitted both the man and his son (against the man's arguments), then treated the stranger to lunch.  After lunch, he returned the man to the garage to pick up his repaired car.

And then he went on his way.  To the best of my knowledge, he never spoke to this man again.  (But we all know that man heard more than enough Stan Stories during those hours together to last him a lifetime!)

He did not do this act of service as a way to get "credit".  He did not do it for any repayment.  He did not do it for praise... in fact, he's probably angry at me that I told you all that story just now.  He did it because he did good.

He loved people, and he loved them well.

He taught me how to love people... and reminded me of my "mission" each time we spoke.  No matter whether in person or on the phone, we always left our time together with an "I love you.".. then he always followed that up with "Do Good."

As my heart has ached these last 3 months with the loss of my Daddy- these words keep coming back to me.  I'll interrupt myself to give you all an update on how I'm doing in that regard... it's hard, y'all.  There is not a day that goes by that I don't end up in tears.  As I watched my parents grieve when my grandparents died, I (morbidly?) wondered what that would "feel" like when it was my turn.  And I'll tell you... I had it all wrong.  The sadness is constant.  The pain is always just below the surface.  My heart is both raw and numb with hurt.  Yes, life is going on... but it is always tempered with this nagging of something being "different."

In that same vein, the only time that I feel "normal" is when I am doing good.  When I get outside of myself to care for the needs of others... that's when I feel okay.  That's when I feel like I'm going to make it.  And that's when I know that I am made that way because that's how my Daddy raised me.

One of my fears is that with his death, many people will suffer from not having his "good" done in this world.  In fact, the night before he died, he rode his lawnmower up to his neighbor's house (without asking) to mow her yard.  No thanks were needed- he just raised his hand to wave at her as he finished up and headed back down the hill.  Who will do that now?  Who will decided to take the meals to the people up the street when their family won't be there for Thanksgiving?  Who will buy the coat, the meal, the car repair for the man who desperately needs it?

And then it hit me... I will.  You will.  We will... together.

Join me as I honor my Daddy's life and venture into a cooperative movement to "do good."  This is not a "pay it forward" concept in the sense that once you "do good", you're done.  This is a way for you to reach out to those around you and share love as you take care of those in your life.

Over the next few weeks, I'll filter through this website, through Facebook, and through a new site several ways that you can focus your good works.  I'll offer some products you could use to create gifts that provide moments of hope... cards, mugs, bags, Rwandan pens, etc.  Through your own stories, we'll restore some peace in this world as you share with us all how your life changes as you "do good".

Here's the beauty: any money raised through the items sold will go to fund more "good" in this world.  Together, we'll put some much needed items in the pediatric oncology unit at Baptist Hospital.  We'll send support to some widows in Kigali.  We'll use our resources- collectively- to make some big things happen.  And individually, your "good" efforts will bless those in your own spheres.  Everyone wins.

I can't wait to share with you the stories of hope.  I hope you'll join us.  I'll post products as soon as the website is finished- look for it the first week in July.  But this weekend as several of us join hearts in Asheville to honor Daddy's life... I hope we'll remember the good that he poured into us all.  And I hope that we won't stop there- I hope that we'll, in turn, do good.

He'd like that.

Daddy meeting E for the first time

The Daddy I grew up with
The Daddy I knew best

Dadaw, E, Alex, and Nanny

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Hope and Change.

Today was a big day for my family.  Miss E and I met the Vice President of the United States.

I'm always a bit starstruck when I stalk meet famous people, but today's was super memorable.  E and I headed downtown after Art Camp for a treat and ended up spending 20ish minutes with Mr. Biden.  We were joined by some dear friends who (honestly) just happened to be walking/driving by when we arrived... a serendipitous moment if I've ever had one.

As we took picture after picture with the VP, (and, yes, E made fish faces in most of them,) I got caught up in the importance of that moment- that one small chunk of time.

I am certain that today was from the Lord.

Not just because I met someone who is part of an administration who I support... but because part of my heart that has laid stagnant for weeks months now was able to reignite.  The seconds before Mr. Biden came in were thrilling- watching the staff and Secret Service do their stuff.  Watching the manager at Wolfie's learn that her store was about to hit the big time.  Watching my friend shake hands with the Vice President after telling him he (my friend) had recently become a US Citizen...

It was good, y'all.

And it gives me hope.  Hope that part of my heart is not stagnant permanently.  Hope that moments of joy and excitement will seep into my days.  Hope that I will be able to tell stories with exuberance of the good things in my life.  And knowing in it all there will be change.  Change that I can't share these moments with some of the people most dear to me.  Change that some moments in my life won't get celebrated by the people who taught me to tell the stories.

There is hope and there is change.

And in them both there are blessings.