We try to get to the beach 4-5 times a year. Guaranteed activity while we are there will be a walk in the early morning and late afternoon. These walks are disguised as exercise but in reality are hunts for additional shells to add to our collections! I’m amazed that this particular beach has “seasons” for different types of shells that are washed ashore. Every three months or so, a different type of shell will be predominate.
While talking about shells with Cyndi on this trip our conversation turned to large shells. Cyndi reminisced about childhood when teachers would encourage us to use these large shells as gifts to parents for things like Mother’s Day, Christmas, etc. Our names would be written inside, along with the date and presented as an ashtray to one parent or the other. What in the world were our role models thinking?! Would your child’s teacher send home an ash tray today as a present? Times and culture change in dramatic ways over the years!
Our family spent Christmas day serving some less fortunate people in our community. About 2 1/2 years ago we acted on a passion of ours – feeding the hungry in our communities and it has evolved into various activities and opportunities to serve others. When we began commuting to Tallahassee, we had to stop our involvement with feeding the homeless on Mondays but that didn’t stop us from feeding or helping on other days or times. One of the things I was worried about when we left was who would continue the work we had begun. Sad to say, not many. But the good news here was that a good friend had taken on the task of organizing a Christmas day meal for those who face food insecurity.
I had the opportunity to give a brief devotion prior to our meal and I talked about Presence. Reminding people about the Word becoming flesh and living among us and quoting Jesus who said He didn’t come to be served but to serve. Challenging those that heard to not let Christmas day be the only time the less fortunate saw them – to become a presence in the lives of those who need it. As I was talking with some of the homeless, a man shook my hand and said thank you. When I asked him why, he thanked me for the words that were spoken, saying that too often people try to make themselves feel good by showing up once or twice a year but then are nowhere to be seen the rest of the time. That was my fear when we left that small community – that no one would show up on a regular basis.
We shared a present with one of our favorites yesterday. A man named Derick. I’ve talked about Derick before and our love for him. We gave Derick a new pair of shoes. The last time he had a new pair of shoes was the last time we gave him some! Cyndi and I choose to give to Derick this year instead of to each other – and it was the best present ever!
We love the passion God has given us for the hungry and less fortunate. We love having the opportunity to share some love with people who don’t experience it very often.
I challenge you to act on your passion. Whatever it is. Get involved. Give presence. Give money. Give time. Give. The presence you give can change a life, it can change a generation, it can change generations to come. Why would you not?
Tonight, I skyped (was this even a word 10 years ago?) with our friend Alex who lives in Cartagena, Colombia. We met Alex on our trip to Cartagena this summer. Alex speaks fluent English as well as his native Spanish.
After conversing for a while we both realized the same thing at the same time: People are people, wherever they are. We all have the same dreams, we have the same fears, we have the same passions. People tend to want the same things – recognition, respect, fame and fortune.
Alex and I both have a burning desire to do that what God has called us to do. Sometimes it seems that others don’t really understand what we are trying to do. And in that not understanding, actions and words can get in the way or even become a barrier to our goals. Sometimes it hurts and we take it personal. Often that not understanding is rooted in fear. Fear that your passion or your dream is bigger than theirs.
God is bigger than any of that! We know His plans for us are good and that He has plans for us to prosper and succeed! I believe God allows others to act in ways that cause us to rely on our faith and our trust in Him.
All of us are passionate about something. Whether your passion and vision is big or small, I encourage you to pursue your passion. But along the way, understand that your passion is not the same as the one you’re explaining it to! The other person is not going to care about it as much as you do. And they may even try to disuade you from pursuing it. Don’t let them. Follow your passion. Not only will you be glad you did but you may change the lives of generations by what you do.