Some of you might have heard that at the Worldwide Day of Giving celebration here in DC I did an impromptu fundraising effort to start raising money for those who have lost their jobs as a result of the BP oil spill. We raised $150. That is money that came straight from the pockets of those attending. Given that it was last-minute and the venue chose not to offer any type of matching or incentives for donating, we fell short of what I would have liked to raise.
Although BP will pay lots of claims, there are lots of expenses and lost opportunities for Gulf residents that will never be repaid. Or won’t be repaid soon enough. I am empowering some amazing members of the Gulf community to distribute the money we raise to those who have been affected by the disaster. These amazing volunteers will then share the stories of people that they meet and help – very much in the same spirit as I have done my daily giving. Trust me I know, even $10 can make a difference. If you would like to help, click on the DONATE button to the right.
There is an interesting article in today’s Washington Post about grass-roots efforts to help those who have been affected by the oil spill.
Day 179 was interesting. I went to a little lunch place near my old office that I used to frequent, House of Kabob (1829 M Street, NW). This place gets mixed reviews. Yes it’s a bit dirty. Yes it looks a little sketchy. And Yes the food is always tasty and the staff are incredibly friendly. Anyway, I noticed a man who was just raving about how much he liked the food there. He made a few comments to me and I kind of shook my head in agreement. I took my spice rubbed chicken, chickpeas, and rice over to a table to enjoy while reading the paper. He took his order to go.
After my stomach was fully satisfied, I headed east on M Street and arrived at a tiny park where I saw the same gentleman that was raving about the food. He asked me how my lunch was. Not having anywhere to be, I stopped and spoke with him. Meet Chandler.
Chandler is taller than me…which is not too tough, I am only 5’9”. He was wearing a red polo shirt buttoned all the way to the top, greyish green slacks, and black wingtips. I am not sure how old Chandler is. I asked him and he told me 47 and then said 67 and smiled and said why don’t you just guess.
I am intrigued with this man and decide to offer him my $10 when he asks me what I do. We escaped the sun’s relentless rays and sat under a small tree. We ended up speaking about some really deep topics. “Some people question what I am here to do. What am I called to do?” he said. He went on to say, “It is pertinent for man to understand why we are here.”
At some point he flips the focus from him to me and the Year of Giving and asks what my purpose is. I gave him an answer, but he seemed unsatisfied with my answer. Then he got really serious and moved within inches of my face and said,
I am going to tell you something and I want you to listen really well. If you only listen to one thing that I tell you, listen to this. You need to sit down and write your personal vision statement. You need to be completely honest with yourself and write out who you are and who you want to be. What your values are. What are your motivations? And don’t lie, even if you never let anyone else see it you need to be honest with yourself with this.”
He asked me to ponder what my highest actions and/or characteristics are. Is it love, God, trust, success, honor? Whatever it is, I should write it all down. I think this is a very important exercise and I will do this. It reminds me of a conversation I had on Monday with a friend who I encouraged to write a business plan for his organization. It just helps to get it down on paper and commit to it.
Chandler needed to leave. I am not sure what he did, but it was something in the legal field. We exchanged telephone numbers and email addresses and agreed to continue talking when he had more time. As for the $10, he said he was going to invest in gold.
He left me with one other phrase that I really liked. “May the highest in you meet the highest in me.” He meant that we should be the very best and treat others the very best way we know how. I like that idea.
I took some photos of Chandler and then said good-bye. He turned back toward me as we walked away and said “to be continued.”
I have reached out a couple of times via email but have not heard back from him. I have his telephone number and will have to try to set up time for us to speak further.