Today we celebrate a man who had some pretty strong beliefs, beliefs in his country, in God, in serving his fellow man. We celebrate his faith and unwavering sacrifice for others.
Martin Luther King Jr’s words and commitment are an inspiration to us all.
Near the end of 2013 when I was deciding if we should pursue the Cycle Cause trip I stumbled upon a clip of MLK speaking of moral courage. It was an edited soundbite from his sermon “But If Not”. Like many, I’ve always known him for his most famous speech “I have a dream” but I hadn’t really heard any of his other sermons up until that point. To say I’ve been inspired by this man would be an understatement.
Today had me thinking about the ‘cost of inspiration’. Specifically what it costs the person doing the inspiration and also what it ‘should’ cost the person who is inspired.
In an age of hyper access to information it’s pretty easy to become just be a ‘consumer of inspiration’, our feeds littered with quotes, stories, inspiring people. By consumer I mean someone who just takes the ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling of being inspired and then moves on unchanged, or unchanging. This was me for many years.
Martin Luther King Jr. ultimately paid a high price for his beliefs. I often wonder how many of us would actually die for something, go to jail to help someone else, sacrifice the comfort and safety of our families with the hopes that someone else might suffer less. He once said “If you have never found something so precious to you that you would die for it then you aren’t fit to live”. He also said “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” Powerful words that ultimately drove me to chase a dream of helping malnourished kids last year and teaching my two sons about service.
In 2014, for the first time in my life I choose not to just ‘consume inspiration’ but actually do something with it. As I reflect this morning I look at how much last year’s decision cost me and my family, a cost that has weighed heavily of late as we are essentially starting over. If you had told me that I would be married with two kids and at age 38 find myself broke, unemployed, and living with my parents I don’t think I would have believed you.
But the bigger question is, would I have still gone?
The answer to that question is something I struggle with, especially lately, but ultimately my answer is yes, yes I would still go. The way I see it, it’s just not fair to be heavily inspired by a man like MLK, someone who gave his life to inspire so many, and then not do something with it.
People tell me all the time what an inspiration our trip was to them, how our journey has been amazing to watch. I think I would rather hear about what our trip has inspired others TO DO. Heck, I don’t even need to hear about it as long as people DO something.
I hope the actions of my life have somehow lived up the MLK’s vision of helping others. His vision of standing up for what’s right. His vision for taking a risk for someone else. His teachings of trusting God above all else. It’s the least I can do when inspired by someone, it’s the payment.
Our cost should be pushing that vision forward.
Saw this again today. My friends at Xero did such a great job capturing our story when we passed through the San Francisco area. They also make, without exception, the best accounting software for small business. I used it for a couple years at Crossgrain before the trip and we’ve used it exclusively at Stop SAM since the beginning. Can’t imagine going back to the ‘other’ product.
I don’t think the full scope of what we did in 2014 has set in yet…but it’s starting to. As I write stories from the road and review photos I’m reminded of just how amazing 2014 really was. I’m happy to home but part of me misses the road, the adventure, the riding every day.
Back in California now I’m wondering what comes next, in life, my career, the next adventure. After spending 2014 out on the edge It’s hard to go backwards and just settle for bland. Whatever is next I know my faith will carry me and my family will be their to support. Bring on 2015!
I’ve spent most of my adult life weighing at least 300 pounds.
Six years ago I peaked out at 340 pounds. This was at about the same time my second son was born. A doctor had told me that I wouldn’t live to see my kids grow up if I didn’t do something about my weight.
After 13 years it’s sort of surreal to be locking the door of this office today for the last time. I didn’t think I would be so sentimental but this space has truly been a blessing to have, both for me and many others.
People say there’s a difference between ‘a house’ and ‘a home’, I think the same could be said about an office. This wasn’t just a cool space, it was a home. So many friendships have been made here, events, co-working days, laughter and tears.
But ultimately it’s been a place for others. I remember moving in 13 years ago and feeling so blessed to have found such a great spot, I really had no choice but to share it.
I find it ironic that I’m now setting up shop nearby at my friend John’s office, he has so graciously offered me a desk to use until I leave on our great adventure in May.
Sharing just makes life better.
As we take time to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr today I can’t help but reflect on the impact he has had on my own life, especially this last year.
We’ve all heard his “I have a dream” speech and know that he fought for justice at one of the darkest times in American history. What I hadn’t experienced before was the pastoral side of Martin Luther King Jr.
This past year I read a great collection of Martin Luther King Jr sermons and was deeply moved by his faith. For him life wasn’t just about civil rights, it was about doing what God had called him to do.
He followed this calling even when his life was being threatened daily, his family threatened, his house bombed, things that we can’t even begin to comprehend. And ultimately he gave his life for that calling. Who lives like that today?
In my 37 years on earth and 17 years of working I can say honestly I’ve never felt “called” to do what I was doing…until now. I have these moments when I realize that everything that has happened up until now is in fact for this moment. The calling to help starving kids is simply too loud for me to ignore.
This transition to work on Stop SAM has been rough over the last three months, December literally brought me to my knees. It was the words from Martin Luther King Jr in a clip talking about “moral courage” that got me through.
Though things go wrong, and things get hard I’m going on anyways. I’m standing up for starving children who have no voice. I’m standing up and presenting hope to a world that we can in fact make a difference. I’m doing the thing I must do. I’m doing what God has called me to do.
I celebrate Martin Luther King for his commitment to civil rights and all of humanity, for the love he shared despite unbelievable hardships. I celebrate him for the great example he set at living a Christian life. Well done good and faithful servant.
Two addition sermons:
As I was sitting in my office today of 13 years I actually got a little emotional about the thought of moving out in January. I know it’s just office space, and maybe I’m being overly sentimental, but I’ve had so many great memories here. Read More >
I’m starting to realize that sometimes I do things purely out of ritual. I can’t even explain why I do certain things, nor do I even necessarily want to do them. I refer to this as ritual, but I guess in some cases it could also be called addiction.
For me, my big ritual is coffee multiple times a day. Even though I’m a snob when it comes to coffee, I’ll drink bad coffee purely because it’s there and it’s a part of the ritual. Get up, go have coffee, read, go to work. After lunch, it continues with iced coffee, sometimes multiple cups.
The times that I’ve worked to stop drinking coffee aren’t because I don’t want to drink it anymore. I just want to break the ritual. I’ve had the same thing with beer. It would be better to enjoy a craft brew in moderation when I feel like it or with a special friend versus having one at the end of every work day just because that’s what I feel the need to do.
I’m not saying that ritual is always a bad thing, but it’s good to understand why we do things, and it’s good not to be controlled by things we consume. I guess it comes down to everything in moderation.
What are your rituals? Do you feel comfortable with them or are you working towards moderation?
I just returned from a great trip to Atlanta. The main purpose was to meet up with my partner at StopSAM, Mike Levison. We spent some great time together discussing, goals, dreams, future plans and campaigns.
We also got to visit the MANA Nutrition factory in Fitzgerald, something I’ve been trying to do for the three years that I’ve been involved in the fight against Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM).
I wanted to see for myself how RUTF was made and deliver in person the donations from my recent birthday bike ride and BBQ. Special thanks to those who gave to the birthday campaign; because of you, we were able to raise over $2,000 – that’s 40 lifesaving treatments. Our bike riding together really did save lives.
I also had a fun time with my dad who tagged along and organized all the travel (thanks, Dad). We visited five of Atlanta’s top BBQ joints, comparing their various meats and techniques. Maybe someday we will have a BBQ place that good in Orange County. Sigh. We also spent a few hours at the Georgia Aquarium, which I learned is the largest in the world. They actually have whale sharks in a tank, which is unbelievable to see.
Thank you, Atlanta, for a great trip. We’ll miss your smoked ribs, the Waffle House peach waffles and that famous Southern Hospitality. We won’t, however, miss your traffic, which I’m pretty sure is worse than LA. But I’ll be back soon.
Now back to work on changing the world and planning a big bike ride.