Hindsight is 20/20 right? When we look back at life’s experiences from a distance, it seems like we have giant, clear eyeballs from Ben Stein’s Clear Eyes commercials to easily see life’s secret treasure map. Think of the last time you had a tough conversation—good or bad—with someone or a group of people. What did you do for the next, hour, day, week or maybe even longer? If you’re like most of us, you’ve replayed that conversation in various imaginary versions (some of them quite entertaining) in your mind to the point that you figured out all the right things you should have said. You looked back with clear eyes and then you could see: X marks the spot.
Seeing ahead simply isn’t the same as seeing behind. In our cars, we have a giant windshield to see everything in front of us and tiny mirrors to see behind us. Why? Well, maybe because seeing stuff flying at you at 70 mph is harder (and more important) than seeing it moving away from you. When we look back at Convoy of Hope’s first 20 years as an organization, we see an obvious road that we’ve been on to get where we’re at, but along the way it probably wasn’t always that way. On the first day that Hal Donaldson started bringing groceries to migrant workers out of the back of a pick-up, he probably wasn’t thinking, “I bet 20 years from now we’ll have a social media hipster who writes blog posts about hope.”
What can you see when you look ahead at your life? Maybe—if you’re normal—you see roadblocks, drop offs, fog, unidentified flying objects, pedestrians and hit-a-road-worker-go-to-jail signs? Maybe it’s too hard for you to see beyond something that’s glaring in your rear-view mirror?
This is the third post in a series of blog posts intended at discovering the realities of HOPE. If you’ve been reading along, you’ve noticed that we’re mostly asking you questions. Why? Because we want you to experience the hope that we have for yourself. If you like what you’re reading, catch up on the first and second posts.
So, back to hope. What does all this seeing, driving, searching stuff have to do with it? Everything, and nothing. Everything, because when you have hope, it completely changes the way you see the road ahead and the road behind. Nothing, because hope exists despite what your eyes can see, and it completely alters what your ears can hear. Hope is an invisible mystery that dwells somewhere between our heads and our hearts, yet it lacks ears (and eyes) for life’s limits and beats to its own drum.
When, where, how have you discovered hope? How has it cleared up your ears and eyes for the road ahead? Join the conversation in the comments below!
You’re walking, driving, working or somehow moving steadily along towards the next destination in your day and a small, quiet yet pervasive thought creeps into your mind: “help that person.” It happens to all of us. The person may be friend, family, co-worker or a stranger; and for some spontaneous reason, you have been presented with the notion to make one moment in their life a little bit easier.
Hal Donaldson, our president and co-founder, spoke to a group of Rotarians in Springfield, Mo., this week and he charged them as follows, “Seldom resist the impulse to do something kind.”
Next time you think you should be kind to someone, you’re probably right.
When I was 2 years old, my dad, Hal Donaldson, and his brothers founded Convoy of Hope. Since then, Convoy has grown significantly and yet its foundation and core values have remained unchanged. For as long as I can remember, my parents instilled in my sisters and me the importance of demonstrating kindness, practicing generosity and serving those in need. Learning this at an early age has shaped us into the young women we are today. It has given us an understanding that Convoy of Hope is not what we are, but rather who we are as a family—the very core and mission of our daily lives.
Whether volunteering in the warehouse, distributing groceries at a community outreach, or traveling internationally, taking part in the work of Convoy of Hope has shown me what it means to put compassion into action. Every person I’ve encountered, every warm embrace I’ve shared and every tear shed while serving has helped to transform my life.
Even though poverty and malnutrition continue to threaten our global community, we cannot allow these harsh realities to paralyze us and deter us from action. Rather, we must offer lasting hope to those in desperate need of love and care.
As Convoy of Hope celebrates its 20th year anniversary, I am reminded that the organization has grown beyond its humble beginnings. Today it is a part of a global movement that is helping millions of people each year.
On behalf of my family—and all those who work so diligently—I want to thank you for partnering with us and believing in the mission of Convoy of Hope. Together, we can change the world one life at a time.
Some people are naturally kind. For the rest of us it requires some intentionality. Here are five simple ways to be kind today:
1. Thank someone from long ago.
There are some key people that made a difference in your life long ago that you are no longer connected to. Find them (it’s easy now) and simply thank them. In 2014 we are celebrating 20 years of helping people around the world. Without a doubt, it could not have happened without others doing something memorable for us along the way.
| Did you know our very first tractor-trailer was donated to us?
2. create a homeless Care kit.
About a year ago I got tired of not having a simple way to help homeless people I often saw on the side of the road. So I decided to put together a ziploc bag full of items that could be ready in my car. Each gallon ziploc bag contains:
2 bottles of water
2 granola bars
$5 Fast-food gift card
Travel toothbrush & paste
Hand warmers (in Winter)
It’s a simple, effective, no-excuse way to be kind to someone facing hard times.
3. Drive-thru difference.
Perhaps you’ve heard of it, but have you done it? A Springfield, Mo., radio station and partner to Convoy of Hope, 88.3 the Wind, encourages people to simply buy the meal for the car behind them in the drive-thru. Try it, you never know when it will be a difference maker for the person behind you.
4. Donate your stuff.
Chances are you have too much stuff. I do. See what you can give away. Inclined to sell that $20 old lamp? Donate it instead.
5. Change your routine.
I tend to not do what I don’t schedule time to do. Make helping in your community a regular scheduled activity. Plan for the extra time it might take you to swing by and pick up coffee for a co-worker.
Do a google search for Mother Teresa quotes and you’ll find loads of great inspirational snippets, but you probably won’t find this one. This quote came from a conversation our co-founder and CEO had with Mother Teresa years ago. Below is a peak at Hal Donaldson’s conversation with Mother Teresa.
Within minutes of meeting Mother Teresa she had unknowingly helped set a new course for my life by asking me a simple question: “Hal, what are you doing to help the poor and suffering?”
“Nothing, really,” I answered honestly, wishing I could have had something better to report.
She looked at me kindly and said, “Everyone can do something.”
Shortly, after that meeting with Mother Teresa in India, Hal and his brothers began distributing food from the back of a pickup truck to families in need in California. In the years since, Convoy of Hope has reached around the world into the lives of more than 63 million people who are hungry, impoverished and hurting.
Here are some ways that you can “do something” today.