Episode 1 - Don't Leave Things Unsaid
Hi friends. Thanks so much for joining me on the very first episode of the create Joy podcast. I am super excited to get started. There is a lot that I'm excited to talk about with you and really just to get to know you a little better. So before we get started, I did want to let you know that at the end of every episode I am going to be creating a create joy challenge. This is just a challenge, something that you can take from the episode and apply it in your life. Sometimes they will be probably a little more personal that you won't want to share them. But if you do feel like you can share them, please share them on social media with the hashtag create joy challenge and/or email me or tag me and let me know so that I can share your experience as well so that we can all learn how we can apply this to our own lives in different ways.
So for this first episode I wanted to talk about something that has come to me over the past few weeks in a few different ways. I think it's something very important to talk about and probably not something that we think about a lot.
Do they know how important they are to you?
Studies show that a lot of people on their deathbed deathbeds really feel like they haven't amounted to anything. Um, If you have ever been to a funeral, which I'm sure we all have. At these funerals, people stand at the pulpit or they share stories in the hall about how wonderful this person was and how they changed their lives. A lot of the stories are stories that the person, when they were still living, didn't know; or didn't know the impact that they had made on people. I know we definitely saw this at my father-in-law's funeral a few years ago. So many people came to honor him and they told stories about the life changing things that he had done to influence their lives.
As I was thinking about this, I could not help it ponder on what things I am leaving unsaid, what things have I neglected to say to others either because I'm afraid of being vulnerable or because I am simply withholding information. Recently I was talking to a friend and kind of discussing some things about his parents' life and, and some wonderful things that they did. And during the conversation he stopped and he said, "you know, lately I really wish I could just talk to my parents." He doesn't know what he would say, but he would really just love to have a connection to say the things that he never said while they were still living.
What things have I left unsaid?
As I have mentioned before, I am from a small town in Northern Mexico, uh, customer tradition in Mexico is that when passes away in an automobile accident, then you build a shrine on the side of the road next to where they passed away. Then at least once a year on the anniversary of their death, the family will go and decorate and clean and spend time remembering their loved ones. Once again probably saying those things that went unsaid when they were still living, so every time I drive by one of these shrines, which is unfortunately pretty often, I reminded once again of my loved ones and wonder if they know exactly how much they mean to me and how wonderful I think the world is because they are in it. I think about the things I have left and said, I think about how scary it is to be vulnerable. I seem to have a false belief that if I let someone know that they change my world for the better, then they will have power to take that joy away from me. That somehow by letting others know that they are special, it somehow makes me less special.
I also think about how sometimes sharing nice things I am thinking seems either irrelevant or maybe it just seems like too much effort to pass on somehow. Scrolling through Instagram seems more worthwhile than calling a friend or watching Netflix seems like a better thing to do than sending a kind text message, but I can do better and we can do better. I think we can slow down and think about this for a minute.
Big or Small, Let them Know
Let's think about the people around you. Think about all the good that they do. Think about how wonderful it is to have them in your life and how blessed you are by the people around you. Some of the things that may come to your mind might be very big. Maybe they did a huge act of kindness that was very visible and changed your life for the better. Maybe they might be small. Sometimes those are the most meaningful.
I know in my life when I think back to the acts of kindness that have affected me the most, most of them are very small and really didn't take a lot of effort. Just like a phone call when I was sad or having a hard time or just a kind word from a stranger passing in the grocery store. Sometimes those small acts are the most meaningful.
Greatness can come in unexpected places
A couple of weeks ago, I was able to go back to my hometown and while I was there I visited with some dear friends. So we didn't grow up with a lot of family besides my family of seven children, which is a large family! So along the way we adopted uncle Ed and aunt Gayle as part of our family. They treated us like family. They were so kind and so helpful and definitely helped guide us through those, you know, teenage years when you need a little extra adults in your life to rely on.
So a little bit of the, Backstory to Aunt Gayle and Uncle Ed, they had a large family of their own. They had adopted one child and they still didn't feel like their family was complete. And through a series of events, which is a story all in its own; a beautiful story, they adopted another child and this child ended up being a special needs baby.
As he grew and developed, they could tell that things weren't just quite right and they went into this situation realizing that their life was never going to be the same as what they thought it would be. They knew that this baby was supposed to be a part of their family though. And that is where Timmy started to change the world.
The part where Timmy started to change the world
Timmy lived until he was 17 year old years old, never been able to eat without a tube walk or even talk. His capabilities were extremely limited compared to what most of us have. Yet, Timmy was able to literally change the lives of thousands of people. As aunt Gayle and uncle Ed started their life with this sweet baby. They came into contact with so many people who had special needs children. In our part of the world, there were not services for these children. So most of them were kept hidden because they couldn't figure out how to help them function in society.
So as more and more people came out of the woodworks, Timmy's parents could no longer fight the nudge that they needed to do something, that their purpose was somehow bigger than what they had imagined. After a lot of thought and a lot of work, they started a school for underprivileged special needs children in Mexico. They were able to secure funding for all kinds of therapy rooms, therapists and doctors to help with these families.
Timmy changed the lives of thousands
As they acted on their promptings, more miracles began to emerge. As a part of this school, they started annual massive service projects. People would send in donations both from Mexico and across the border in the U S by the truckloads. Hundreds of volunteers over the years have come to help provide not only material things like coats, wheelchairs, and food for Christmas for underprivileged families, but to provide joy. Donations would be piled up as high as my little body could see. People would come from hours away, sometimes as many as 20 hours so they could sing Christmas Carols in small Adobe huts.
These experiences changed the lives of thousands, both the lives of those who were blessed by these experiences and the lives of those who were able to participate. And all the while Timmy sat by smiling with his giant smile on his tilted head, warming the hearts of everyone who came in contact with him.
But Timmy wasn’t done yet
Now while, with the school and the service projects, we have already an amazing legacy to leave behind for Timmy, this was not the end. It was only the beginning. As they began to come in contact with more people, they began to get more and more volunteers, including highly skilled professionals who offered their assistance. They got donations for eyeglasses at first, only used ones, but eventually all new prescription lenses and frames. They got ophthalmologist to not only give prescriptions but to perform cataract surgeries. They got dentists, they got plastic surgeons to perform cleft palate surgeries and they literally changed the lives of thousands of more people, both those being served, again, and those serving. I would like to add those who had the opportunity to hear about this incredible service also felt inspired and changed.
So let's go back to Timmy. Remember Timmy was able to inspire and motivate all of this to happen and he did it without any of the simple skills that we all take for granted. I wonder if he knew how much good he was doing. I wonder if that is why he was always so happy.
How much good are you doing?
I wonder how much good each of us is doing. Imagine how your life would change if you knew that you had changed someone's life. What if you knew the kind words and motivation you spoke to someone was just the push that they needed to start something that would change the lives of thousands? What if the time you thought you failed you actually started something beyond your wildest dreams? What if your determination was able to inspire someone to overcome something truly difficult? I think we will never know the good that we do in this world, but how much are we not telling others about the good that they are doing?
Just the same way we would love to know how much good we are doing in the world, others are searching for meaning in their own lives and who are we to keep them from knowing it? I believe that if we all knew a fraction of the good that we are doing in the world, we might feel motivated to go out and do a little more good. It just might be the extra push that we need to do great things.
Tell others how they change the world
So here's my #createjoychallenge for you today. Reach out to someone who has changed your world and let them know. Let them know how much they influence you for good and how the world is a better place because they are in it. If you want to get some extra credit, act on every positive thought you feel. Tell the lady at the grocery store that her smile made your day. Text your friend from elementary school when you remember how kind she was when you fell and scraped your knee. Send an email to an old teacher letting them know how he inspired you to do better and be better.
Let's share our love while we can. I promise the benefits will be amazing. And again, I would love to hear about what you are doing. Let's all inspire each other using the hashtag create joy challenge and tag me so I can share with our community about how we are creating joy in our own lives so we can all create a little joy together.