“Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.”~ Theodore Roosevelt
I have spent my lifetime trying to explain my seeming compulsion to serve to others, but have never found adequate words or descriptions to do justice to how I have always felt.
Last night, a thirteen-year-old struggled to find those same words. This young man was awarded the Tampa Bay Lightning Community Hero award and was chosen to speak at an event where all 220 community heroes, from the last five years, were being honored for their passion and service.
When he shared about the healing power of giving back and how he had been pain-free for two years from his juvenile arthritis, I could feel his compulsion to serve from far back in the room at my table. I thought, this kid and I could sit quietly in a room together and totally “get” where the other was coming from.
I am not sure there weren’t 218 others and their guests in the room thinking the same thing or at least, being appreciative of his ability to share it that way. Feeling a purpose and a drive to do something outside of ourselves is service and the benefits of it have the potential to be a life changer.
There is a healing power to giving and serving others, and to doing so from the heart and from the depths of our being. It is the real deal—seriously, unicorns, rainbows and fairy dust kind of stuff you cannot imagine is possible.
It is far more magical when it is focused, ego-less and fiery with passion. And even more magical when you can balance the service with self-care so that fire doesn’t burn itself out along the way.
After the program concluded and all the heroes left their respective tables to go back into the lobby for coffee and desert, I had only two thoughts in mind. One was that I really needed to find that kid, shake his hand, and say something encouraging. The second was that I needed to hug the amazing woman who helped behind the scenes to orchestrate all the hero events.
I found the young man in the line of people who also wanted to hug her before leaving. I had no real encouraging or profound words as I shook his hand, but I did thank him and tell him to be sure to take care of himself too as he continued with his service.
The Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation has changed so many lives as a result of the unrestricted funding they give in honor of each Community Hero award. There were 220 heroes in five years and I believe there were nearly 350 different nonprofit organizations that benefited from those award dollars. I am proud and humbled to be among those honored.
If you ever find yourself in need of inspiration, click here and simply watch or read the stories of all the passionate people living in the Tampa Bay area!