Community: A Source of Blessing
This is the first time I’ve actually re-posted from another blog, so if it doesn’t go the way it should, please bear with me. I am re-posting because it has touched me profoundly at a time when I am struggling to accept my own situation and choices. And it reminds me of the power of community. Such a concept is not new, but her blog post (and the comments that followed it) show that community often transcends geographical boundaries and time zones.
Lesley’s story and her request have rallied a large online community that comes from all over the world. And while there may be some who have not understood her vision, or who think her quest to win a contest is self-centered, they are definitely in the minority. Lesley has already done some pretty awesome things in her life, through her hard work and sacrifice. Her desire to experience life fully isn’t just about her, but it motivates each of us to be true to our own visions and to do what we can to bring them to reality. In doing so, we also help others see that their own visions are possible. I voted for Lesley in as many ways as I could, and then decided that I needed to do more.
So I decided to re-blog Lesley’s post to share how she has affected me and in the hopes of getting her a few more votes. A win for her is a win for the community. There is a link to vote within her post. You could also look at the sheer number of people who have responded with their support for her story (but you probably won’t have time to read all of them–it’s a LOT!). She is in the top three for this contest, so anything any of us can do really can make a difference for her. Several other people have re-blogged her, but I probably was one of the most verbose about it. (But that’s probably not a surprise if you’re a regular reader of my blog.)
Her story has touched a chord with me personally because it reconnected me with my own journey and has helped me see my current path in a new light. I have only recently come to terms with the fact that the only way the textbook project will be completed successfully is if I accept that it requires all of the attention and effort I have. There is no point in bemoaning it or wishing it could be otherwise or trying to find a way to wiggle out of it or make it less than it is. What that means is that the next ten months are going to be extremely taxing—brutal even. But what it doesn’t mean is that I need to give in to feeling deprived or discouraged when I have to pass up other opportunities temporarily in order to accomplish this project that I chose and that I believe in. A project that will benefit a community that I am now part of.
Lesley’s story reminds me that the ups and downs are part of the ongoing cycles that are involved in a life worth living. Her post coincided with my struggle to “make room” for other things I thought were important. And maybe they are–but not NOW! I want to–need to–complete the textbook project in a way that is satisfactory to me. Is it going to be easy? Obviously not! But that’s the reality. I need to create a map, a path to the clearing that focused on the textbooks, in spite of the obstacles and red tape that sometimes threaten to rob the project of its meaning. Focus and sacrifice are what this project require, and I choose to bring it to completion.
The response to Lesley’s story also helped me finally understand why people are so interested in my story: how I came to be living in Taiwan and what I have encountered here. I forgot that the things that have become routine for me still make for interesting reading for people who have not made this kind of choice. In fact, my next post is going to answer the question that I have answered many times from people I meet online and from my students. “What brought you to Taiwan?” Other stories of my experiences will follow. Stories contain truths; they contain hope; they contain magic.
When Lesley shared her story, she enlarged the influence she already had. Her spirit and determination is an inspiration to many. Being part of a community that supports one another in their quests to become visionaries of their own lives enriches all of us. The fact that our paths can now cross virtually as well as in real time provides a new kind of energy that can be a powerful influence. Sharing our dreams and our stories connects all of us. Thank you, Lesley!