"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.
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.
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.
…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, 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