Live Like LucasThe non-profit organization Live Like Lucas was founded in August of 2015 in order to accomplish the goal of empowering youth to spread kindness. Our first official event was on January 16, 2016 where we had over 200 youth as well as adults participate in service projects and random acts of kindness in the Grand Rapids area. We served a pancake breakfast at Park church, made over 100 lunches and hygiene kits and distributed them to the poor along Division avenue. We made breakfast and did activities with the children at Hope Community, which is temporary housing for single moms and their children. We went to nursing homes and played bingo and bowling with the elderly. We distributed fifty 10.00 gift cards at Meijer as a random act of kindness. The result of just this one day was astounding. The volunteers had their eyes opened to situations that they had never been in before and met people unlike they had ever encountered. They saw people in poverty as real, worthy, human beings who weren’t just lazy. They saw the elderly, as one student put it “peppy and funny and mischievous.” They connected with people who were far outside of the Forest Hills “bubble.” And they wanted to go back. They wanted to do more. They asked, “When can we do this again?” Live Like Lucas is not just about spreading kindness out on the streets of Grand Rapids but also in our schools. We are currently researching programs and speakers to encourage our youth to practice kindness EVERY DAY- not just to their own friends but to those who feel alone and disenfranchised. We want to encourage friendships across all social, racial, and socio-economic boundaries. Teaching kindness also needs to start young. We are working on a program with “Lucas puppets” for the social workers to use to teach lessons on being kind to others and encourage conversation about sadness and loneliness and bullying. The kids will be able to put letters to Lucas in a mailbox so they can express their feelings and in turn the social workers can address these issues. One especially powerful method of learning about kindness in a global way is through mission projects. Our goal for next summer is to fund or partially fund at least 10 trips to Guatemala for kids who would otherwise be unable to go due to financial concerns. Lucas went 2 years ago with my grandparents and it was life changing for him to see the utter poverty and lack of medical care that was available for these people they visited in remote villages. He was prompted to really think about what his future looked like- he had planned on going into the medical field and now felt drawn to the mission field. Live Like Lucas has a vision of youth who look outside of themselves, look outside of wealth and power and popularity as goals and really see the world as how it is- full of hurting people. Even a small act of kindness can turn someone’s day around. It may even change their life.
Monthly Archives: December 2015
I struggled this past week- hard.
I hope tomorrow is better.
I have sunk slowly into more of a mire than I had been before- that depression mire that sucks you down slowly and makes you feel more helpless and powerless with every passing second. I’m tired- so tired all of the time. I feel angry and irritable at my other kids. Which in turn makes me feel guilty, horrible guilty for not being a good Mom to them when its not their fault. It’s not their fault that their brother died.
I thought I lost our (Lucas’) ipad. I searched for awhile and then just decided to get a used one to replace it. It came yesterday. I set it up with my apple ID. Everything seemed fine until it asked for the password for the firstname.lastname@example.org. His apple ID had been used to get many of the apps on the old Ipad so I think that is why it wouldn’t stop asking for it. I would hit cancel over and over and over and it wouldn’t stop.
I was so angry and upset and frustrated it took everything in my being not to throw it. Then I started talking to it. “Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” I don’t know his password! He’s gone! He’s gone! He’s never coming back and no one will EVER EVER EVER EVER know his password!” It’s all locked away in cyber land like his Facebook page and Instagram account and all his emails no one will ever check again.
Its one of those things that makes the fact that he is no longer with us so very real when I want to pretend that it isn’t. To avoid the horrific horrific pain that goes with facing it head on. It is easier just to ignore it, not think about it, think about it in abstract terms as it if was just something that happened to some other family. I have to do my fair share of avoidance just to stay sane. Then something happens that is so in your face you can feel your heart being ripped out of your chest. It hurts so PHYSICALLY in a place you can’t reach or take a pain pill for. Like a phantom limb that’s been cut off.
I did not realize that some of his imessages were on the ipad. I guess I never thought of checking. I was trying to text myself from the ipad so I could hear my phone. I typed in my number and the ones from him to me came up. To see the words that we communicated to each other, just all the mundane little jokes, and when are you going to be home Mom? and Mom can you get this from the store? He didn’t have an iphone until the summer before his freshman year. I can barely, just barely look at those messages.
I never, ever, thought such pain was even possible.
I gaze out at our backyard where his chicken coop used to be, and the pond he used to fish in, and the spot he used to shoot his bow and I feel so angry and betrayed. That God gave me this wonderful boy and then ripped him out of my arms. Why he picked me to take away my child. Why Lucas had to be the one. Those are the hardest questions and the ones that tear you up and make you bitter.
I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t want to remain forever in this limbo feeling like God loves me and died for me and yet he gave me the shaft. Someday I want to feel like I am done wrestling with God and feel completely at peace. Some days I wonder if that will be when I’m 80 and senile and don’t remember I have any children.
I knew Lucas’ heart. I can feel his heart although he is gone because I knew it. I knew it well. It beats along with mine. I cannot claim to be half the person he was. Yet I had the immense privilege of being his Mom and of having a deep sense of who he was. That is a Gift. and a tremendous encouragement to me- that his heart can live on.
Two ladies came overlast week and cleaned my house. For free. They were a tremendous blessing to me. God’s love in action. One of them who had recently been going through some very tough times said to me the only thing that helps her is serving others. My heart skipped a beat. “this is what I want,” I thought to myself, “for LiveLikeLucas.”
There is no way that someone can give of themselves and not feel the effects; of knowing they helped someone else and not have it touch their heart. What better answer to the ails of our society and more specifically our youth. I believe in my heart it is the answer. We can talk all day about being kind and it is wasted breath. Maybe they are not ready to give of themselves; maybe they are the ones who need to be given to. The ones who need to be lifted up; Or maybe they are the ones who need to sign up to deliver meal baskets or read to underprivileged kids and feel that tug on their heart.
The thought of building that organization that can teach kindness, empower kindness, BE kindness is what keeps me going on the darkest days. The ones that are so dark there is no light at the end of the tunnel- the tunnel of my sadness. Those days when I feel like I am turned inside out and my insides are exposed to the world. Everything hurts and everything feels raw and I am like a wounded animal. Those days I still have hope. The hope does not go away. Grief is either bad, worse, or purposely pushed out of my mind. The hope of a legacy does not go away. A legacy of kindness.
That is where I need you. We need to start building from the ground up.
If you have ideas and talents that can be used by LiveLikeLucas, please contact me. I need a village. If you have ideas on how kids can serve and how that can be executed, I would love to hear it. If you know of a need in our community -or others, send me an email at email@example.com.