What’s in a lifetime?
I just returned from Lacey, Washington where I was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the *Thurston Group of Washington State. I am still on a natural high because this was my first and only lifetime recognition, and though I tried not to cry during my acceptance speech, I still ended up like the late **Tammy Faye Bakker!
I was humbled, overwhelmed, inspired, proud– did I say humbled—to receive this prestigious honor because every day I try to tickle God’s heart and leave the world better than I found it. For me that looks like an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay, being honorable, fair, kind, and like Larry the Cable Guy, finding a way to get’r done! Dr. Barbara Clarkson, head of the Thurston Group, in her presentation, had a list of accomplishments listed to justify this recognition but I suspect her list probably fits you too, so take a bow because:
Every day, in every way, you do and give your best because you matter. When you take time to listen or move heaven and earth to bring the ends together, it matters. We all have an opportunity to open doors, lend a hand, and/or be a game-changer. I try to do what my former boss, the late Dr. Ted Brown, did: he wouldn’t say, “no,” he’d say, “Let’s see if we can make that work.”
You take the call. With caller ID, nowadays we can see who’s calling and there are some calls you don’t have time for, but you pick up the phone anyway, knowing there will be another task on the end of the line. Somebody needs a ride, a favor, $20, your time—the list varies but you always answer. You can be counted on when the going gets tough.
You share your wisdom and encouragement. My first-grade teacher lived and taught us Alma B. Androzzo’s beautiful song, “If I can Help Somebody,” and it became my official mantra, my daily guide, the definition of a lifetime of achievement: “If I can help somebody, as I pass along, If I can cheer somebody, with a word or song, If I can show somebody, that they’re travelling wrong, then my living shall not be in vain.”
During my travels to receive this award, Alex Parker, 30, a member of our church and our sound technician, was killed along with his girlfriend Lauren, in a tragic automobile accident. During his memorial service Saturday, his childhood friend from Las Vegas looked out at the multi-ethnic crowd and reminded us that our beloved Alex was responsible for bringing us together. He asked us to stand and hold hands in Alex’s “happy place,” as we celebrated the beautiful young man who never met a stranger, who gave the best hugs, who cherished and was cherished by his family and friends, but didn’t have a chance to receive an official lifetime achievement award. Congrats Alex, for you, I’m happy to share mine.
*The Thurston Group of Washington State (TGWS) is a collection of parents and community leaders in this Seattle suburb whose mission is to provide scholarships, increase college access and enrollment for students of color in the Northwest.
**Tammy Faye Bakker and her husband, the Rev. Jim Bakker, were televangelists in the ‘70s-‘80s and she’d end almost every show in happy tears with mascara running down her cheeks from her expressive eyelashes. Don’t ask me why she didn’t use waterproof mascara because I don’t know!
Get the new second edition of 31 is Thirty-wonderful, A Prayer and Reflection Journal/Journey for Triumphant Women here – http://touchedbygraceministry.com/store/thirtyone-second-edition/.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. All the way from Stanton, TN (you can’t get there from here) to 50 states, six continents and everything in between, she’s wise, witty and altogether wonderful. She enthusiastically invites you to slow down, sit a spell, and share a giggle or two.