This blog is my guilty pleasure. It allows me to share my thoughts in hope that someone else will find some value or learn something along the way. I post when something really special sticks in my consciousness and it seems worth sharing.
Last week our nation had a moment. It was a good moment. There was energy, cooperation, hope, imagination, and even teamwork.
There we were in all our glory for the world to see.
The moment centered on the recent record $1.6 billion U.S. Powerball lottery.
People openly and willingly gave some of their money to purchase a Powerball ticket or tickets. Some joined Powerball pools where contributions were collected from a group of people with the agreement that in the event the team won, the proceeds would be shared. Think about it. People who may not share the same opinions about hot button issues like war, abortion, legalizing marijuana, immigration, and gun control were more focused on reaching for a goal and taking a chance, than they were in in rallying for their individual causes or agenda. They also willingly became involved with people who might not share their religious or political beliefs. For the moment, it was all about that huge pile of money and ticket holders enjoying the equal opportunity chance to win or lose. There was a rather carefree and hopeful attitude which began to spread across the country. The world took notice too.
It first clicked for me at the moment when I was getting a cup of coffee in a public place and observed a man with a list talking to people he really didn’t know well. Where I live this means they may not go worship where he does, might be politically liberal (which is very uncommon here), might be poorer or richer financially then he is, or simply someone who just doesn’t move in his social circle. This man was encouraging others, male and female, to consider contributing to a Powerball pool. The paper was his list of participants.
In that one moment I knew that much of the divisiveness in our nation was being displaced, for a moment, by a desire for people to share in a common goal. People became more interested in what they could win by just taking a small financial chance on the unknown, and maybe even on each other.
Social media and good old fashioned verbal conversations began among people about how they would spend, invest share, gift, or use the money. Yes, the dreams were big, but the process was fun, exciting, and hopeful. Who knows, maybe those who didn’t win will still move forward on those dreams and encourage others who put their dreams out there.
Yes, we had a good moment. Here’s hoping for many more.
Sometimes we just have to take a chance.
In the fall of 2010, my friend (and pastor) Sue and I ventured out into our little community in a small town in Texas in hopes of meeting some young women who could use just a little support and encouragement to let them enjoy their school years and actually graduate. This year (2014), that hope became a reality as a group of us gathered to attend graduation to celebrate the accomplishments of those students we met that first year. Along the way the group of volunteers and students has expanded.
When we started this journey, our hopes were high, but our expectations were limited. There was no roadmap for us to follow, we just worked together as volunteers, students, and school staff members to meet the needs of those we met. It was a collaboration for sure.
Yesterday I was going through my box of cards which I have kept over the years because they are special and have brought me joy and encouragement. I found a card Sue had sent me when we first started the mentoring activity. It made me smile and reminded me that things that look good after four years, may not have seemed that certain in the beginning.
The added statement “If it isn’t tried, we don’t know if we can” became very powerful and helped me stay focused and moved me into action. The kindness in the words and the loving spirit in which the card was sent helped me remain centered on outcomes which benefited the students. This is a good reminder that kind words of encouragement can help overcome fear and allow us to ignore the small minority of people who were negative about the whole thing (yes, there were a few along the way).
This card is a keeper! May you take these wise words and move forward on something you have been going to do but lacked the courage to take the first step.