How can I support you?

How can I support you?

So, how can I support you?

You might be wondering, what does this have to do with dreams? – ’cause, for the purpose of this blog, it always has to come back to that, you know? Well, here’s an attempt:

You have friends. Or even, there is…YOU. And you all have dreams that you’ll like to accomplish but don’t have the expertise, or the resources, or the reach, or access to make it a reality. What do you do? Give up the dream? Go in search of people who can help you, who can support you? What if they can’t? What if they can but just don’t think much of your dream? These are questions…

Now, imagine someone actually comes up to you and asks you:

So, how can I support you?

What do you say? How do you respond? Well, if you’re me, you’re speechless for a few seconds. It’s unexpected. It’s rare. Which is why when I was asked, I was stunned.

Eventually, when I could find the words to say, I said something about a new project I am currently working on. But, I’m not sure that I actually answered the question. I’ve been thinking about it since then.

So, do tell, how would you have answered that question, fellow dreamers? Also, have you heard a question that left you similarly stunned recently? Do share!

And here’s a challenge: Go do the same – and mean it! – for someone you know. It just might make a world of difference to them (and their  dreams).

#MLK DAY: A Story and A Dollar + 1

Today, we honor the legacy of the man Martin Luther King Jr. He said a lot about many things in his lifetime, and his words still resound with folks everywhere. For me, one of such quotes from him is on service – one of my core values.

Everybody can be great, because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

And like Martin Luther King, I am a dreamer…

I too have a dream

I (too) have a dream…

…about many things. I often revel in idealist visions, one which permeates the “I have a dream” speech, which I’m currently watching again to commemorate this day. This vision of his leaves no one out.

added: After I had finished writing this post, I remembered that this speech was played to us on the 3rd day of LeaderShape conference. This was meant to inspire us to create our own visions, vision being “mental pictures of what we want to create for the future.” These pictures often seem impossibly difficult to bring to reality, and it might take time – sometimes, the original dreamer might not even live long enough to be a part of it. Well…

I too have a dream

…that one day, I’ll travel across the world, telling and sharing stories (of mine and others) as an echo of that ideal sense of brotherhood among all men.

I have a dream

…to use these stories I tell to connect us all.

It is in light of that, in an effort to be an active participant in this putting together of the strands of our stories to make a collective whole that I listen unreservedly while others tell theirs.

I love strangers, mostly because they have the most exciting stories.

On Friday, as I approached the stop to catch a bus, I saw a man sitting by the curb playing a guitar. From my rough assessment, I would say he was probably homeless. I struck up a conversation with him and asked him how long he’d been playing for. He said 40, 12 of those years he stopped, and just began playing again 8 years ago. There is something for me to learn in that, as a dreamer:

to be relentless in the pursuit of my dreams, to not give up (at least not completely – to still come back to them even after I might have stopped for 12 years )

I told him one of my goals is to learn how to play an instrument before I die; I started learning the piano a while back but stopped 😦 I asked him to play some popular songs, and he obliged. He played Jackson’s “I’ll be there”, Stevie Wonder’s “My Cherie Amour”, and a song by Roberta Flack which I wasn’t familiar with. It was then he told me his age (59), and we started talking about the music he grew up on. And then we talked about my accent (who doesn’t?), and where I was from…

…And then, the bus came. There were still a lot I wanted to talk to him about though. I wanted to hear more of his story.

In retrospect, I think it was in the spirit of service that I lent my ear to listen to this man. As I was thinking about how to compose this post, I remembered THIS POST by a fellow blogger that motivated me to include, in the list of my goals, a random act of kindness.

Maybe this was it.

While we were chatting, I kept thinking about the lyrics from this song, I Need a Dollar:

“If I share with you my story, will you share your dollar with me?”

Luckily, I had two.

As we stepped inside the bus, I told him, “It’s not much, but you can use it for your bus fare.”

The Greatest Shall Be Your Servant

I had the opportunity of listening to a discussion about SERVICE today, and I thought I should share what I learned…

I was actually going to at an unknown later date write a blog about my CORE VALUES (which I can see right now on that paper t-shirt) but I’ll at this time just limit what I have to say to one of them – SERVICE.

The dictionary defines it as “an act of helpful activity; help; aid.” It means going out of one’s way to assist people who need it. Service is needful because, well it is needed. We as humans are designed to NEED, and that is where service comes in. Service is other-centered, often to a reckless disregard of one’s own needs. Now there are varying degrees to which each individual would go to render service, but there is no arguing that it is indeed selfless.

A story was told today about a family who had a dying child, and how they needed money for medical expenses….and the mother, whose husband helped out the Pastor out earlier that morning by driving him to an important meeting, approached the Pastor’s wife for assistance but all she had to offer was “Let us pray”, which they most certainly did. The child died!

Now what does this have to do with service? The Pastor’s wife had the money that could have paid for the poor boys medical expenses, but she held on to it because she needed it for her personal use – her business ventures. Now do I blame her? Not necessarily, but certainly the money could have been of help.

Service! Remember what we have come to agree with, it’s other centered!

A person who serves rarely feels entitled to anything, s/he sees life, and everything in it as a gift that is not deserved…hence “my” or “mine” is the last vocabulary such a person would use.

“Everybody can be great… because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Martin Luther King Jr.

So, why this value? It is a value that I’ve been opportune to be exposed to even as far back as the first time I drew in air into my lungs. Raised in a Christian home, and being shaped to a certain extent by principles as such has made me to continually marvel at the life of the central figure of Christianity. His was a life that exemplified this value from the time of his conception till his death. In fact, his descent to earth (as a human, from his throne in heaven) and association with humans is a form of selfless service. If you’re interested, click HERE to read about a particular act of service he showed, which I think envelopes all ideas of service. The title for this post is actually a reference his words. Some of my other heroes who have exemplified this particular value are Martin Luther King Jr, my Parents (Mom especially), and Gandhi among others.

Incidentally, I found myself a theme song to remind me of this particular value of mine. The first time I listened to the song, I played it at least 200 times…okay maybe not but you get the point. I’ve played it almost everyday since then. Listen below.