Blame It On Andra

I stared upward at the motionless ceiling fan. A faint glow filtered in the open bedroom door from the nightlight in the hall and reflected down off the still blades. It was four in the morning, my head was pounding, and there was a dull throb in my ear meaning that almost assuredly my infection was back. Great. To top it all off I was trying to come to grips with the dream I just woke from which involved performer Amanda Palmer, her husband and writer Neil Gaiman, a mysterious collection of architectural ruins in a coast line not far from a train station, and a small mysterious decaying skull.

Andra WatkinsThat was how I woke up this morning. I blame it all on the far ranging discussions of the previous evening. Well maybe not the earache, but who really knows.

So let’s go with the previous evening. If I lay the blame there, I can transfer a good amount of it to my friend Andra Watkins. Whenever we get together the discussions take unusual turns, and last night was no different. Her first book, “To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis”, is about to be published and so our conversations naturally centered on that. Topics ranged from author interview questions to publishing formats to the effect paper quality has on the reading experience. The most lively discussion though was around the premise of her book in general, shall we say a post-death do-over.
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If I Won The Lottery – Exercise #14

The prize we all dream of. The payday we all hope will happen, even if we never take the necessary steps to make it occur. The lottery. That is today’s exercise. Exercise number 14 out of this journey is, “what would you do with your lottery winnings?” I have to admit to start off with though, that I am not generally money driven. I just don’t do things for money. And I rarely if ever buy a lottery ticket. I do not bet on things that I don’t already know I can win. I take risks yes, but I don’t gamble.

Church FansLet’s suspend all sorts of disbelief though and for the sake of argument we’ll assume that I did win the lottery. There are three basic areas that I would want to cover, and the first starts with giving some of that money away. After that we will cover a few trinkets and experiences I covet, and then will put all the rest away for the future. But first things first..

The first expenditure may sound odd, especially for anyone not from around here, but Charleston in the summer is hot. Heck, the winter is often hot too. One of my favorite places in this world to spend time is in our church. It feels like home. And our church doesn’t have air conditioning. The initial bricks for the building were first put down in 1774. Yes, before the Revolutionary war although the construction was not finished until long after. When you have something that old it’s a little hard to retrofit with the modern convenience of air-conditioning. Hard means expensive. So that is the first thing I would d0 – I would pay to put air conditioning in the church. Tell you what though, if I’m going to air conditioning the church this better be a pretty big lottery. I think the running estimate for air conditioning our church is somewhere around a cool $2 million.

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What Inspires You?

We all know the feeling of not wanting to go to work in the morning. Heck, there are times we don’t even want to get out of bed! But there are other days, and you know you’ve had them, when you can’t wait for your feet to hit the floor. You set the alarm clock a little bit early and you even wake up before it goes off. Those are the days we live for. Those are the days that make us come alive.

The RoadSo, what is the common thread in those days? What is this thing that you do, maybe only occasionally, that makes you want to take on the world before the day even gets started? Maybe it is that project that you are working on that is so interesting and important to you that you stay up past midnight without even realizing it. Maybe it is a place you go that has you pressing your foot down on the gas harder than you really should. Or, as is the case with those such as me, it is the topic that you go on and on about until the eyes of your listeners glaze over and they make excuses to escape.

Or hopefully, and this is the great rare case, it is the topic that you speak about with such passion that your audience is caught up too. Your sheer heartfelt devotion to this cause is so powerful that it is contagious to those around you and you start a movement – by accident. The cause may be civic, political, religious or even very personal, but you have no choice but to give yourself up to it and be carried forward by it – with no guidance of your own.

You are lucky when and if you find such a cause. Do not resist it. Do not try to turn away from the calling – not only will it keep beckoning to you, but deep inside you will know that you have turned away from the path you should be on. The trick is to hear that calling, be honest to it, and then let it guide you. We will all be better off if you are on the right track.

Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

– Howard Thurman