Change & Friendship & Inspiration

Life is full of change.  Some we actively seek, some we cautiously encounter, and some we flat out try to avoid.  Oddly, what I have learned from the unwanted category is to embrace change.  Now this does not mean that change is not scary…some absolutely is.

So when a friend of mine asked me to go on a mission trip to Mexico to help kids in the impoverished towns of Tres Reyes and Bonfil, I said yes.  Even though helping kids is in my wheelhouse, normally I would have politely found a reason to bow out because I have never felt comfortable around organized religion.  I am no longer normal.

Being the type A person who he is, my friend took me for a walk to ask what I hoped to gain from the trip.  Uh-oh…organized religion calling my name.  The good thing is that ALS has afforded me the courage to communicate on a different, more personal level with my friends.  A level that I used to reserve only for my family.  I told my friend that I hoped to help the kids and that I had zero idea about what to expect spiritually.  I let him know I was not an organized religion type of guy.  To my surprise, he was excited.

To make a long story short, it was a fantastic trip.  We accomplished a lot for the Tres Reyes and Bonfil communities on the trip.  I bonded quickly with an awesome, young boy named Abimael, who had a blast playing in the ocean.  Such unbridled joy over something I considered so ordinary.  What a reminder for me.  I deepened friendships to the point where these people have my trust and to the point where I felt comfortable enough to join a Bible group formed by one of the guys on the trip.  Why?  Not because I feel more religious, but because I feel unjudged and welcomed.

I went home exhausted physically and emotionally, neither being bad.

I recovered from that and then ran into a buzz saw of community kindness at the Snow Moon Bocce Cup.  Bocce Cup…what is that?  Essentially, the Harvest Moon Cup that is held in September is arguably the best community event ever held for men:  locally brewed beer, a brown table, a wine table, cigars, food galore, Bocce (the only sport every guy in their 50s can play), and a few morning bottles of ibuprofen.  My sister Shea flew in to experience it for herself, always great seeing her, and she left in awe.  The Snow Moon Bocce Cup was created as a fundraiser for my family.  The love and friendship we saw was humbling and moving.  I hope everyone experiences something like that as it was incredibly special.  I think I know how Abimael felt.

I went home exhausted physically and emotionally, neither being bad.

Needless to say, Inspiration is all around us if we keep our eyes open.

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