by Lance Ekum on · 76 comments

“One would give gen­er­ous alms if one had the eyes to see the beauty of a cupped receiv­ing hand.” ~ Johann Wolf­gang von Goethe

Life has an inter­est­ing way of plac­ing within our sights, that which per­haps we need to hear the most.

In early Octo­ber, I com­peted in my first marathon.  As mem­o­rable as this part of the jour­ney was, there was some­thing else that came from this experience.

On Fri­day prior to the marathon, my wife (Lora) and I stopped in at marathon head­quar­ters to pick up the packet of sup­plies and infor­ma­tion that each run­ner gets.  Going on at that same time, was an expo — with var­i­ous ven­dors setup dis­play­ing and sell­ing their wares.  

The Con­nec­tions We Make
There was one small booth that pulled us right in.  

The Give Shirt.

A selec­tion of cloth­ing avail­able, with the word “give” imprinted on the front.  And — for each shirt that sold, the pro­ceeds are donated to a selec­tion of sev­eral charities.

We bought two — one for each of us. 

And it could have ended there (with a very cool t-shirt), except…

Except…for the con­nec­tions we make.

Enter Thomas Budde.

Thomas is the cre­ator of The Give Shirt.  And, the more we learned of what he was doing, the more we loved this whole con­cept of spread­ing aware­ness toward giv­ing, while at the same time — giv­ing (through the pur­chase of a shirt).

What led Thomas to cre­ate this, though?  

The Con­nec­tion Goes Deeper
It just so hap­pened that Thomas was going to run for 24 hours straight — to raise aware­ness for giv­ing, and for liv­ing a healthy lifestyle.  A run that would be tak­ing place in Milwaukee.  

You read that cor­rectly — Thomas would be run­ning for 24 hours straight — with a vari­ety of peo­ple join­ing him along the way.  From 4 AM on Sat­ur­day, Octo­ber 23rd until 4 AM on Sun­day, Octo­ber 24th.

First off — just let me state — WOW!!  I can’t imag­ine run­ning for that many hours straight!!  (shoot, dri­ving that many hours straight is a real challenge!)

In a last minute deci­sion, I decided to join Thomas for a por­tion of his run.  (15 miles over about 3 hours on that Sat­ur­day evening)

What an inspi­ra­tion this guy is!!

Dur­ing our time together on that Sat­ur­day evening — we had a chance to talk more about this very car­ing and gen­er­ous project.

A few years back, Thomas vis­ited Thai­land.  Dur­ing his visit there, he was com­pletely taken in by the gen­er­ous, car­ing, and giv­ing spirit of the peo­ple of this place.  A giv­ing spirit, even though they them­selves had lit­tle (in con­trast to what I con­sider I have in my life).  And yet — they had so much.  They did, because they gave so freely of what they did have, and of what was in their heart.  Even more than that — was the deeper sense of peace and joy that these peo­ple exhib­ited in their life.

…and yet, by stan­dards we might be more accus­tomed to…they had little.

…although they truly had so much.

It was a trans­form­ing moment for Thomas.  He arrived back in Mil­wau­kee (his home), and was drawn to how much we have…and yet how much more there is…if we just give more freely.

Upon receiv­ing a gift from his brother — a shirt with the word “give” on it…Thomas had found his deeper mis­sion in life.

And since that time, he has been sell­ing these shirts — with all the pro­ceeds being donated to a select group of charities.

Giv­ing with noth­ing expected in return.

…and in that…everything in return.

“For it is in giv­ing that we receive.” ~ St. Fran­cis of Assisi

Get­ting to know Thomas, and see him liv­ing this mes­sage — what a gift!!  And what a gift — to be able to give so freely.

Your Mis­sion
Your mis­sion, should you choose to accept it:  This week, give some­thing freely, with no expec­ta­tion of some­thing in return.  Do some­thing you wouldn’t nor­mally do.  Chal­lenge your­self to be more freely giv­ing.  Maybe it’s money.  Maybe it’s some­thing you have.  Maybe it’s your time.  What­ever it is — do this with car­ing, com­pas­sion, and love.

And know that I’ll be wear­ing my shirt this week — the “give” shirt.  Spread­ing this mes­sage through one sim­ple word.


And for all of this — and for my own deeper con­nec­tion to giv­ing — I am deeply thank­ful for this chance cross­ing of paths with Mr. Thomas Budde.  Thomas, you are a true hero!  Keep shin­ing your amaz­ing and awe­some light out into this world!

Oh…and for the record:  Thomas ran 96 miles over that 24 hour period (I know — crazy!!)!!  Crazy awe­some!!! (…and just plain crazy!!)

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the mis­fits, the rebels, the trou­ble­mak­ers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things dif­fer­ently – they’re not fond of rules… You can quote them, dis­agree with them, glo­rify or vil­ify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… they push the human race for­ward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” ~ Steve Jobs

Lance writes sto­ries from his heart, aim­ing to inspire and moti­vate, as you align more fully with YOUR true peak. When he’s not here, you can find him hang­ing out with his fam­ily, rid­ing a bike, or just gen­er­ally act­ing goofy.   Sign up for the Thoughts from the Tree­house newslet­ter and get addi­tional inspi­ra­tion in your email inbox!
Lance Ekum
View all posts by Lance Ekum

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