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Better Together

July 7, 2010

Matt –

Well, today I was going to have some sort of deep, well thought-out life lesson slash metaphor slash intricate story to relate our search for a wedding florist to the rest of people’s daily lives…. but this is as far as the process went:

Life is like flowers… a really bright collection of spots in a poorly lit, damp, freezing concrete box in a bad part of town. <crumples digital piece of paper>

Life is like flowers… really expensive to deliver. <Hmm… not quite>

Life is like flowers… pretty when alone, breathtaking when together.

I fully intended on abandoning this idea when I realized that it tied it well with some of the things I had been thinking about lately. You’ll need some background.

ESPN has recently started doing a film series called 30 for 30. They have taken 30 film makers and 30 real moments or topics in sports and made EXCELLENT films about them. One even made the list of (now 4) movies to make me cry (and I’m proud of it).

Anyway, one particular film was made about the career of Allen Iverson, a professional basketball player, and how he and his reputation were affected by a court case in his hometown. Allen Iverson grew up in a very racially segregated community in Virginia. His family was poverty and drug ridden, along with the whole community around him. His step-father was a convicted cocaine dealer. His mother was a user of numerous narcotics. The movie goes on to explain how the trial polarized the community, etc etc. What really caught my attention and provoked this whole notion backing this post was a quote from a gentleman who provided many meals for a young Iverson.

Interviewer: You bought him many a meal, huh?

Man: Everyday. Prolly sometimes the only meal of the day. I mean if you can, it’s what you supposed’ta do. We ain’t here to be by ourselves, we here to live with other people too… its what makes the world happen.

This man was his middle school basketball coach. WHOA. I won’t go into all the dramatics of the whole film, but anybody who likes sports and how they are made up of real people, man 30 for 30 is an incredible way to experience professional athletes and their stories.

Going back to the whole flower idea… would Allen Iverson have made it pro without the support around him? Maybe. I would go so far as to most likely. But its the quote from AI’s ex-coach that makes you really sit back and say wow. We WERE made to be here to be with other people, to interact with others, to love and to care for others. What would God have us do all alone? We can be pretty good by ourselves, but we can only be truly GREAT with others.

I have a challenge for you guys. Find a way to be great with somebody else. Make it worthwhile for them to know you and for you to know them. Make a more personal connection with somebody you might not. Engage the grocery store cashier in a deeper conversation than, “Hi, how are you doing?” Make life an experience that is shared with other people. Then let us know about it. We will look over the comments and entries and award the best one with a $15 iTunes gift card.You have until Thursday night at midnight (central time)! We will announce the winner in Friday’s Quick Takes.

*You don’t have to live in Texas to win. The Post Office has assured us they can mail things worldwide 🙂

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Flo permalink
    July 7, 2010 9:17 am

    Great blog today!

  2. July 8, 2010 2:21 am

    This IS an awesome blog.

    I’m not sure if this counts since it was in the past, but I’ve had a similar kind of experience – and it was me on the receiving end of it! Before I moved to London, I was alone for six months: the boy had already flown over here on an early work contract, and I was sticking it out in my teaching job by myself and really feeling awful about it. We’d never done long distance before and I was already nervous about packing up and moving to another country, and I think with all those things combined, I really turned into a bit of a recluse. I went to work, I came home from work. I didn’t really go out, at all. Nothing interested me. Nothing. (I basically was a sucky person to be around.)

    A friend of mine changed all that for me. At the time, we were more of acquaintances: not good friends, we barely saw each other and would mainly talk online. This friend noticed that I wasn’t my normal self and was worried – but of course, every time she mentioned how I was, I brushed it off and avoided the question. This continued for a few weeks – until one day, I got home from school and she was waiting at the door. Now we didn’t live close by (around an hour’s drive apart) and she didn’t even know if I was going to be home, but she chanced it and waited. And when she saw me, she bundled me into her car, drove to a coffee shop and made me spill – and that was all it took. From then on, she saw to it that I was busy and happy. She planned events for us, she picked me up out of my sadness and was the extra push I needed to get through the days. And because of that, I survived my six months alone – and she became my closest friend. (Still are-even thousands of miles apart!)

    So it may not be as life changing as giving food (though I love that story!) – but she gave me hope and friendship when I needed it most, and I’m thankful for that every single day!

    (Wow. Longest blog comment ever. Sorry!)

  3. Victoria Taylor permalink
    July 8, 2010 6:55 am

    So, not interested in the gift card, but wanted to share. Totally understanding the “connect with people” concept, been living it for years! Now not to steal the idea of “engage the cashier at the grocery store” It really happened

    I shop regularly at our local grocery store, like 4 times a week. I have done this for the past 12 years that this store has been open. Been taking my children there with me all the time. I know the chefs at the cooking demo, by name, I have my favorite cashiers and baggers and I know the managers. Years ago when my boy was just a baby, one of the cashiers took a shine to him and every time we would go in she would say, “How’s my favorite boy” and always have something for him. Doughnot, (yes, doughnot as in dont eat them) anyway…beach ball, some kind of treat. Well the years pass and she eventually got promoted to manager and got her own store. One of the last times we saw her, she hugged on the boy and really truly was sad that she wasn’t gonna see him all the time. Well, as life works, people come back into you life and this wonderful lady, that we had not seen for years, saw the boy ran up to him hugged him, and me and we just picked back up where we ended. Now he’s older and doesn’t get the treats, and she is busy running the store, but she always makes time for us, even if it is a quick hug. Life is wonderful when you allow God to work through the people he sends you.

  4. Mary Kate permalink
    July 8, 2010 10:47 pm

    SO, you of course know how much I love Starbucks, and everyone always jokes about me and my coffee habit. But really, I could go other places to get a caffiene fix or be economical and make my coffee at home. But I like to go to Starbucks for the people. I started going to MY starbucks in 9th grade. It was my first day at LSA and my sister picked me up from school and took me to Starbucks and bought me a frappachino. That was the start of my addiction. But over the years I would go to Starbucks on my way home from school once a week and get a drink. I always went to the same starbucks because of the people. People like Zach, who was terrified when I learned to drive, but I turned out to be a good driver, and eventually he drove all the way to the Natural Science Museum with me.
    Senior year I started doing my homework at Starbucks. I would spend hours there working on homework and getting to know the people who worked there. This was also a serious low point in my depression and I felt like there was no one in the world who would understand. But these “cool older” people understood. It started with ridiculous questions about math, and it turned into me baking cupcakes for birthdays, celebrating marriages, mourning over deaths. These people became my second family. I was there for them in their times of need, covering shifts or giving hugs when people were sad, babysitting so they could go christmas shopping and they were there for me, covering shifts and holding me while I cried the entire night after the most difficult event in my life, and its where I went the next morning to be with family bc my family was out of town. This place became my second home and these people became my family. All because I needed help on my homework and needed to have some human connection.

  5. July 9, 2010 8:46 am

    I met my best friend in the ninth grade, and we were immediately close, 10 years later we were about to go on a trip to the Dominican Republic together. We were on route to the airport when we got a call from the hospital, her father, who had been battling cancer for months had taken a quick turn for the worse and they urged us to come back ASAP.

    We abandoned the trip, and got back to the hospital a few hours before he passed away. My friend is incredibly strong, but I knew there would be times when having someone else in the house would make things easier, so I packed my bags and moved in with her family for 3 weeks. I fed them, made sure they had clean clothes, took care of the every day stuff so that they could try and heal. I even slept on her mom’s bedroom floor so she wouldn’t have to be alone in the middle of the night.

    The outcome, I am now closer to her and her mom than I ever thought I would be, and we both know, should absolutely ANYTHING happen to either of us, the other one will be there to lend a shoulder to cry on.

    Thankfully, she has not had to return that favour yet, but I know she would in a heartbeat.

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