Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Revolution is Alive & Well

A while back, I posted a blog entry called "Frustration". By the time I'd completed it and posted it, a "counter" experience happened and I promised to share that "soon". I didn't. It's been several months. But, here's that counter-point to "Frustration". Better late than never.
*Dedicated with appreciation to Cat

Do you remember that scene in Forrest Gump when Lieutenant Dan climbs the mast of their shrimping boat and curses God during the storm? Assuming he’ll die in the deadly storm, he climbs up and let’s God know just exactly how He screwed up and just exactly what should have happened. He didn’t die. And somehow, after that rant, a little bit of healing begins for Lieutenant Dan.

A few months ago, I allowed myself “one blog post to rant, vent, and otherwise wallow in and try to express my displeasure at the current circumstances” surrounding the dissolution of a non-profit charity I had been directing, other frustrations, and my general lot in life. For background to this story, you can read that blog post here.

Immediately following that “Lieutenant Dan experience” – as in the next day – a bit of my own healing began. I dropped by the coffee shop on my way to work and an acquaintance surprised me by buying my venti cafĂ© mocha. I’d volunteered doing some game announcing for his volleyball team and he was expressing his thanks. In the grand scheme of things, it was a small gesture, but I walked out of the coffee shop a little lighter on my feet that morning. Gestures like that were what the non-profit I ran had been about; taking easy steps to brighten someone’s day.

A few hours later, I ran by church, to pick up any mail that might have come for me (I volunteered in leading their college ministry). The only piece of mail was one delivered for the charity I ran that had been dissolved. My initial reaction was anger. Not at the sender…just at the fact that people still didn’t know the charity had folded. At that fact that I was going to have to call yet another person and explain the whole long, painful story to them.

I reluctantly opened the mail and found this photo inside of it.

These children in Africa thanking the Dirty Roots Revolution (the charity I keep blathering about) for sending them a collection of school books.

The swan song for the DRR was a weeklong missions trip we hosted for some high school students from Indiana. One of the days on that missions trip involved us packing boxes of shoes and books for an organization called Project Restore. Project Restore sent those boxes of shoes and books to school children in Africa who wouldn’t otherwise have access to them.

The purpose of the Dirty Roots Revolution was to encourage folks to get involved in changing the world through small efforts. Like buying someone a coffee. Or taking a few hours to pack textbooks for African children who needed them.

The icing on the cake of this blessing of a day was a request to join a college student for coffee. I was happy to do so. Our conversation centered on why the DRR had to go away and how her and some friends could resume one of the organization’s projects; a weekly homeless outreach. I’m thrilled to say they’ve picked up that activity and are continuing it through a new organization of their own.

The Dirty Roots Revolution called itself a revolution because we felt that making small sacrifices to make someone else’s day was, in and of itself, a revolutionary act; an uprising against apathy and the incorrect perception that we, as individuals, can’t do anything to make a difference in the world. Just like the butterfly effect, I believe if folks focus on what they CAN do to make a difference, the combined effect of that goodness will spread and everything would be better.

It’s not like I thought the DRR had the corner on doing these kinds of things. None of this is new. The homeless outreach was started by my friend, Bill. All I did was get on board with what he was doing. Lots of other people follow the “pay it forward’ philosophy. The DRR just put our efforts into focusing as many people as possible to get behind this already-existing revolution.

A charitable organization needn’t exist for that revolution to continue. Anytime someone gives a little of their resources or themselves to brighten someone else’s day, that revolution is alive and well.

I was a beneficiary of said revolution on that day. I’d always had a hunch that if people put forward these kinds of efforts as much as possible, they’d eventually hit just the right person on just the right day who really needed just that kind of blessing. My theory proved true for me on that day.

Viva la revolucion.

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