by christina britt lewis
Back before the election, friends of ours came over for dinner.
There was candlelight, chicken marsala, cheap red wine, and the avett brothers.
But more importantly,
there was a kitchen table conversation that changed the world...
Jalaybrian and his grandparents, William and Susan Black
Jalaybrian was born with microcephaly, a rare life-long neurological condition with no cure. He cannot walk or talk. He cannot give hugs or say thank you's out loud, but you cannot miss the light and love and in his eyes. He was not expected to see or hear or live for more than a year. Well... that little man can see and hear just fine. He is so very full of life that he shines like stars in the universe.
Jalaybrian is 4 years old and lives with his grandma and grandpa in a cute little house with an attached garage and upstairs bedrooms. Every day and every night Susan and William have been carrying their growing grandson up and down the stairs. There was no room on the first floor for his hospital bed and all of his medical equipment. Their hope was to redesign their garage to make a room for Jalaybrian on the first floor. While they were waiting to hear if their garage redesign would be covered, Tim and I were waiting to hear if HGTV would pick up our show redesigning garages. We all did not get what we hoped for so desperately.
Sometimes when you think you lost, you won.
Not long after all of that, our friends came over for dinner, friends who knew us when. The ones who believe in you before you believe in yourself...they make you who you are. Keep those people. If you've lost them, find them. Work out any differences. Agree to disagree. Never walk away from the ones who believe in you first. To the rest of the world you smile and say "it was an honor to be nominated" but to the ones who knew you when, you say "this sucks, I suck, it all sucks..." and they roll their eyes and say something like "get over yourself, I know a garage that needs a redesign, some people have REAL problems, ya know" or something equally profound and life-changing.
And that's pretty much how it all went down. Next thing we knew, sweet Susan called and invited me over. When she welcomed me into her home and introduced me to Jalaybrian, there was no turning back. I heard myself saying things like "we got this" before I had any idea how exactly we were going to "got this." But here's the thing...
We the people rise up.
That's what we the people do. We were uniquely qualified to meet this specific need. Redesigning a garage is the thing our little company was almost famous for. We were going to help this family no matter what and every time we say "yes" to making the world a better place before we have the funds, people rise up.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
Everything in us wanted to just do this quietly and anonymously by ourselves. But putting the idea out there meant that others could join us in our mission and together we could create the world we want. Sometimes something comes along and you know down deep in your soul, you are supposed to do it.
Something that feels bigger than you,
and kind of impossible.
You might call it the universe speaking,
or the result of every decision you ever made,
or a calling from God,
or giving to the greater good...
it's all the same.
We have to listen to that still, small voice inside of us.
We gotta give when the spirit says give.
When I met Jalaybrian, unexpected tears fell.
I've learned to listen...
Whenever you find tears in your eyes, especially unexpected tears,
it is well to pay the closest attention.
They are not only telling you something about the secret of who you are,
but more often than not God is speaking to you through them
of the mystery of where you have come from
and is summoning you to where, if your soul is to be saved, you should go next. - Frederick Buechner
Not too long ago, things were really hard for us. We know what if feels like to work hard and still need help. We promised ourselves that when we succeeded at making our dreams come true we would spend our lives helping other people make their dreams come true.
When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through the doorway of opportunity...
you do not slam it shut behind you...
You reach back, and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed. - Michelle Obama
We started a Gofundme campaign and we the people gave. We raised half of our goal in one day. People from every political persuasion came together to make the world a more beautiful place for this family. United in our diversity. Better together. Working for the greater good. This is what happens when people refuse to feel powerless and choose to change the world...
Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.
We are the ones we've been waiting for.
We are the change that we seek.
- Barack Obama
Refuse to feel powerless.
Sometimes when we think we lost, we won.
We are who we are not because everything came easily.
We are who we are because of everything we had to overcome.
Creativity comes from frustration with the way things are, when we so choose.
Do something. You don't even have to leave your home to change the world for somebody.
We live in the time of Gofundme.
We can give directly to people now. Like right now. Like from our computers.
Read the stories and pay attention when unexpected tears come.
What moves your soul is different than what moves my soul.
We need all of us.
We can make a difference in the lives of our brothers and sisters.
We are powerful. We can use our power for good.
Every dollar matters. $5 bought books for Jalaybrian. $5 matters.
You have the power to change the world, one person at a time.
Go where your unexpected tears take you.
The fun part is, you get more than you give. It's actually sort of selfish, in a way.
If you want to be happy, make other people happy.
Happiness is contagious.
Use power to help people.
For we are given power not to advance our own purposes
nor to make a great show in the world, nor a name.
There is but one just use of power and it is to serve people.
- George W. Bush
We can serve people with more than money.
We can give our time. Our friendship. Our love...
Invite people over. Light candles. Make spaghetti. Fancy is fussy. Forget fancy.
Kitchen table conversations change the world.
If all of your friends think and vote and pray just like you do, you need some new friends.
Welcome people into your life and home who think differently.
Ask questions. Listen more than you talk. Seek and find how you are the same.
Discover why they think and vote and pray the way they do. Listen.
You don't always have to say what you think back. You can just listen and pass the garlic bread.
Give up the right to be right for the sake of relationship.
Feeling powerless does not change the world.
Deciding everything is hard and not worth the effort does not change the world.
Lying on your sofa and watching tv every night does not change the world.
Reposting on Facebook and not calling your senator does not change the world.
Complaining to your friend and not doing something about it does not change the world.
We the people have the power to make ideas a reality.
We the people have the power to make dreams come true.
We the people have the power to create the world we want.
We are the boss of us. We are. No pastor, priest, or president controls our souls.
No man can save us. No man can enslave us.
We are the ones we have been waiting for.
Time to save ourselves.
We got this.
We are so blessed, and yet I feel for those others who have needs.
I wish there come a day when our hearts outweigh our differences.
- William Black
with so much love and gratitude,
Tim and Christina for all of these world changers...
thank you for inspiring us all
Susan and Wiliam Black...
thank you for inviting us into your home, speaking wisdom, and becoming our friends
To all who donated...
thank you for proving we the people have the power to create the world we want
thank you for always saying "we got this" and always making everything better
Amy and Lance Murphy...
thank you for giving us the answers to all of life's questions #askamy
William "Uncle Bill" and Leena Britt...
thank you for proving that marriage is fun and there is always a way
Jason Wishnefsky and Kendrick Williams...
Carolinas Handling Company
thank you for making us laugh and being our heroes
Buffington Home Improvements
thank you for going above and beyond and exceeding every expectation
Dee and Denny Castillo...
Quality Air of the Carolinas
thank you for making air cleaner and being our HVAC angels
John and Linda Gromko...
thank you for making me who I am and teaching me to see the beauty in everything
Cole and Camden Lewis...
thank you for showing us the light and for being our greatest contribution to the world
FOX 46 Charlotte
thank you for thinking our story worthy and telling it so beautifully
watch the BIG REVEAL on FOX 46 Charlotte news...
Strangers get results for young boy with microcephaly
by Kayla Ayres