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Friday, December 21, 2007

Moving past the "what if".

Last year one of my employees came to me with a tragic story that he had heard about in the community where he was assigned. As he recounted the story to me, I soon agreed that it was truly horrific. Right before the holidays a man was involved in a really bad car crash which was fatal. This man left behind a wonderful family. This happens more than most realize, but the details of the incident were ugly. My employee started to wonder. As he wondered he did the old "What if" saga. It is something that many folks do, but never put any action to their wonderful ideas. I challenged him to go to the next step and figure out what it would take to move past the what if and make it a reality.

He did just that. He started a project to find donations, get volunteers, and make "Christmas" happen for not just the family that lost the loved one, but for three others. We called the project the "Adopt-a-Family" project. This year he decided to do it again. And like all great ideas, this one grew.

Last night I got to go out with numerous volunteers and DO the "what if". Our group was made up of several at-risk-youth, Marines, Deputy Sheriff's, parents, counselors, and park and recreation staff. My employee had received donations from no less than 30 companies. What he put together was amazing. Through the help of some community based and faith based organizations he identified 7 families in true and dire need. He was able to get donnations of, a small pine tree, ornaments, toys and clothes, and food for an entire Christmas dinner for each of the 7 families. The volunteer group were persons involved in a youth intervention program that guided at-risk youth in the community, as well as some of the youth who had graduated from the program. The youth, themselves, packaged, wrapped, decorated the trees making them Christmas Trees, and, along with the adult volunteers, delivered the gifts to the families.

I, for one, was grateful to have the deputies with us. The areas we traveled to , in the night, were very rough neighborhoods. I was amazed to see how at first the people were un-trusting of the cops and how the cops were able to warm up the whole situation and the people opened up the homes and hearts to a group of young folks who were already standing in the cold and rainy night air with open hearts themselves. It is amazing to me to see such poverty in the midst of such a wealthy city. One of the cops stated at the end that he was shocked at how little some of the families actually had. He himself had grown up very poor and had not seen such things since his childhood. For me, it was what the season was is all about. Mercy of not getting what you deserve, Grace in getting what you don't deserve and most importantly, the shedding of all differences to better humanity, one person at a time. Everyone walked away from last night with the knowledge that we helped take a "what if" and turn it into a reality, change some seriously embedded paradigms, shed a few tears, and experience Christmas in it most true and pure state. Job well done Brian!



Peajay said...

It warms the heart to hear such things, this is truly what Christmas is about.

Mike Barrett said...

Brian, SB,
Putting yourself at risk, maybe in harms way, to bring material help to the poor and the lonely and the sad, is also what Christ-mas is all about. Way to go!
Peace to you all this joyous season.

His Girl Friday said...

Great post, TB!! Thanks for sharing this, the true meaning of Christmas!! It definitely made me choke up a bit!! I put a link to your post on my blog!! :)

Endlessly restless said...

Thanks for this inspirational post. It's both uplifting and challenging.

Endlessly restless said...

Sleepy Bear

Just after I posted my comment, I came across this story from Mark Sanborn - thought it resonated a bit with your post.


Happy Christmas

storyteller said...

Thanks for sharing this heart-warming inspirational story. Melissa at Part of Everything had a wonderful idea to share here:
and here:
I read about it too late to find a similar program in my area and follow through, but I've added it to my Christmas plans for NEXT year in my Palm LifeDrive.
Hope your Christmas is Merry and Bright and your New Year is Joyous!
Hugs and blessings,

Kool Music & Extreme Adventure Risk Video Search


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