I love when I'm able to look back on life and see how it all connects into one moment. Many times, our lives seem like a chaotic mess randomly roaming the world trying to find a place to land. But in the end, that interweave of trials, tribulations and celebrations can turn into something remarkable.
Today was a unseasonably warm winter day. Temps hit 79 degrees in mid-February and ironically will only reach a high of 39 degrees tomorrow. That's good-ole St. Louis weather for you. Unpredictable and consistently inconsistent. One day you walk out the door with a winter coat and hat and the next day in flip flops and a sleeveless shirt. It not only plays games with adults' minds but our kids as well because they get a glimpse of life without the bulky extra layer of clothing . . . only to put it back on within the next 24 hours.
I decided to stay at the boys' school to let my youngest play on the playground before heading home. We played tagged. I learned what double-dating means on the swings (when you go the same height as the person next to you). I wiggled on the wobbly balance beam. And, I climbed to the top of a spider web-like contraption.
When I took a step back it reminded me of a recent situation that allowed me to celebrate a thread that started five years ago. I'm going to explain the train of events that led to 1000 POUNDS of food headed to Haiti and multiple tractor truck loads of leftover hurricane food kits to numerous organizations all because I auditioned for a film.
* I ran across an audition notice about a filmmaker from LA who came to Belleville, Illinois to cast his up-coming feature being shot locally. I was the runner-up for the female lead but was still given a small scene in the film (called Belleville which was shown in 13 theaters across 4 states) . . . and more importantly, developed a friendship with the writer/director, Dan Steadman, who is now considered family. Honestly, our spare bedroom is actually called "Dan's bedroom."
* A couple years later and a handful of movies done together, I accompanied him to a local filmmaker workshop where he was the key speaker. One of the attendees was a business entrepreneur (Mary Kay Sheets) and her talented teenage son (Gabe) who was passionately and successfully pursuing filmmaking.
* The next year, MK and Gabe asked me to co-produce his ambitious short film called Fugue (2018 release).
* The following year, MK introduced me to one of her clients (Jay Peters) with the thought of me using my photojournalism to share his story. He is a successful business man who uses his non-profit (A.I.D.) to make a global difference.
* Fast forward to 2018 (and after many meetings and ventures), Jay told me about a company he was introduced to called the MidWest Food Bank that has a division called Tender Mercies. TM mass produces rice and bean packages and sends them all over the world to poverty-stricken communities.
* I was already heading to Haiti with The 610 Project in February and told Jay that if TM needed more organizations to help, I knew of a handful. Apparently a truck was already planned to come to St. Louis so they kindly donated two pallets - 1000 lbs. of food - which Jay stored in his warehouse until FedEx could come by to transport the food to Alabama to be put on the shipping container.
* A couple weeks later, Jay text me and said he had an offer of 40 tractor truck loads of leftover FEMA food packets and asked if I'd help find places for them to go. After a couple calls, the efforts began by organizations to find homes for the goods.
No one in this story wants any credit for their efforts! Because of the heart of a few, big things happened.
Remember that being faithful in the small things can produce amazing results that make a lasting impact!
You may not know why you are going through certain circumstances right now in life. Things may not make sense. But, in the long-run, I have ALWAYS found that both the good and bad things all play a part in the bigger picture. And thankfully God's plan is better than mine. Sometimes, I just have to wait awhile to discover what's going to grow from the tiny seeds planted along the path.
Your web is being weaved even now. Be excited. Be faithful. Be mindful of what the future may hold. And remember . . . the difference you make for one, can impact the future for many!