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: March 2016
It’s the week leading up to Easter. Holy week. It has felt everything but holy in our house…
Germs. Sickness. Blech Blech Blech. This time I was the one taken down hardest- I can’t remember being so sick. Being sick as a Mom is TERRIBLE. You’re still Mom as in “Mom wipe me!” and “Mom did you get my lacrosse stick?” and “Mom Bryleigh bit me!” but all I could do is lay in bed and shiver. And sweat. And cough. And see all the household chores piling up around me. No one has anything to wear or can find…anything. Basically it feels the household is crumbling down me and you I feel like…
What is it that people say when they are really sick? One of those phrases I avoid with a ten foot pole- Death.
There are so many terrible phrases when you have recently lost a loved one that have the effect of acid on a wound. For me being sick meant more than just physically illness but lying there with nothing to think about but another holiday around the corner- without him. My head hurt to much to read or watch TV, so when I was awake he was on my mind constantly. His life was playing over and over before my eyes and it was so absolutely awful. Beautiful and awful.
The fact that his life was so beautiful makes it being cut short so much more awful.
I don’t really know what I would do without this blog to pour my heart into…when it hurts so bad. So so bad. When I don’t think I can BEAR it any more and it’s just too much it eases my pain just an iota, just enough to get by, knowing that others are listening.
I just need someone to TELL. Thank you for letting me TELL you.
It seems that the holidays and the birthdays and all those certain”hurting” days are endless like a barrage of waves crashing over me; the water fills my lungs and leaves me struggling and gasping and wondering if I will make it…they just keep coming and coming and coming. I feel like I am more down than up…
Then comes the parade of self- doubt. Of feeling like a failure. Feeling like I’ve let everyone down. I am not strong, I am as weakly human as they come. Frail, helpless, throwing my own little pity party. Yep- I’m pretty sure the last three and half months have been just a big mess of negative emotions and I would like nothing more than to find my way out of it.
Unfortunately my grief will be with me forever. There’s no running away, no stuffing it down inside and hiding it. I must finding a way to cope every single day. Yet the Bible gives hope that suffering is a gift.
“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. 7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. 8 Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.”
I Peter 1:6-8
The rest of it- all the yucky stuff that makes me feel un-worthy and a screw up and overall just a piece of trash?
That gets nailed to the cross. All of it. Every single bit. I have the comfort of knowing I’m left to drown in all this yuck but he died to set me free.
Free to revel in being a child of God. To allow his arms to cradle me on those days when I’m falling apart at the seams. Free to look forward to paradise with him FOREVER.
“Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”
Easter is coming.
No matter how un-holy and unworthy we feel…all we have to do is ask. He comes straight to us, right down to our dirty grungy selves, and washes us clean.
3/15/16 Back to reality.
I just got back from a long weekend in Florida. A long overdue- once in a decade getaway.
I had had enough. I needed some sunshine. I needed a change of scenery. I needed to GET AWAY.
So two weeks ago I got on the computer and booked the cheapest flight I could find and said “Hubby, we are going to Florida.”
The beach was gorgeous. The scenery was stunning. The sun and sand was warm and inviting and just…delicious. I love sun. The thing about sun is it makes you feel alive. It makes you feel like the earth’s very energy is pumping into you. There’s a reason they call wonderful things a “ray of sunshine.” I’m so glad I went.
However my life was still waiting for me when I got back. It was still waiting for me as I sat in the airport terminal and one of the stupid timehop things popped up on facebook. I keep forgetting to turn them off. I’m not even sure I know how. A collage of pictures of Lucas I had posted last march… the last pictures that exist of him. He had taken selfies of himself with someones ipad in class.
I couldn’t breathe. I literally could not breathe for like… a whole minute. I’m sitting in an airiport terminal with hundreds of people around me and I had tears running down my face like a torrential rain. I tried, I really tried to pull it together but the tears kept coming, kept coming…my nose was running, I was so embarrassed. I thought, who does this? In an airport? Little kids that’s who does this. My grief made me humiliated. It made me want to hide. It made me feel like a little girl.
That’s how I feel a lot. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to just bawl in the grocery store or at school or at the gym…but I stuff it down. It is a whole lot easier without a picture of him staring me in the face I can tell you that much. But so many times I just wish I could wear on the outside what I feel on the inside. Not pretend to be fine all the time. I can’t live in my grief constantly- it would destroy me. But when things come on, so many times I just have to put a happy face on and pretend everything is normal. I’m brave. I’m strong. I’ve got this. I can be a Mom and a wife and a friend and most of all- take care of my kids and make sure they grow up happy healthy well rounded wonderful children.
Most of the time I just want to sit in a corner with a blanket over my head and wait for the apocolypse.
When I woke up this morning it was to me sweet little towheaded three year old chirping “mommy! mommy! mommy! I found Lucas’ boat! I want to play with Lucas’ boat!” I think I heard the words Lucas’ boat thirty times before I made it downstairs. When Lucas was about ten or eleven he got a ginormous remote control boat. I think it stopped working a long time ago but it was still in his room and guess who found it…
Right now it is sitting on the floor in Rich’s office a few feet from me and looking at it makes me want to crumble. I had to go into Lucas’ room to get it out because Brady was having a meltdown- he couldn’t carry it out. As I went into his room I saw bare walls. A stripped down bed. Nothing anywhere. Just a bed and a dresser. It made my knees go weak and my heart jumped into my throat. Someone emptied his room. No more pennants and baseball pictures on the wall. No more trophies on the dresser along with his various parephanelia no more clothes in his closet and things on the shelves, no familiar comforter and pillow on his bed. Nothing. It is no longer his room it is just a room. I’ve been robbed.
The room where he had pet gheckos and his collection of pins from OM, where many baseball uniforms hung ( and laid on the floor of course.) No more little desk in the corner and picture of him holding his baby sister Brooklyn on the dresser. I want to see that room again. I want to go in there at my leisure and feel “him.” It was his space.
I recently read a book by Glennon Doyle Melton called Carry on Warrior. I think, hands down it is one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. She describes life as “brutifal.” Part brutal, part beautiful.
Spot on… So much brutal-ness. An bleeding aching heart that both feels empty and so heavy at the same time. A child ripped away from his mother. A mother having to bury her child. A mother constantly tormented day and night by relentless longing for that child. Unable to fully comprehend his absence. One year and two months later.
Life is beautiful. Creation is beautiful. God is beautiful. Three sweet funny loving mischievous little girls and a gentle smiley precious boy- all beautiful. Lucas’ legacy of love, kindness, and encouragement. Being able to be So Proud Of That Boy. So Very Very Very Proud.
Knowing that of LiveLikeLucas will grow- although it is a slow, arduous, sometimes painful process. It will get there. We have a beautiful goal- to empower youth to spread kindness. In world full of hatred and racism and classism- where teenagers kill themselves out of their sheer pain and loneliness- we need more kindness. This past year starting a non-profit has been a trial by fire. But you live, you learn, and you get better. You get smarter. You grow a thicker skin. You figure out how to make things happen. I still have an undying passion that Lucas’ legacy make a difference and I will not stop. We have a 5k coming up- June 25. We are looking for sponsorships for the race. This is the hard part. If you know any businesses who might be remotely interested in sponsorship (basically giving money to have their business advertised on our race materials) please please let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org.
Life is and will always be brutiful. We just have to keep fighting for the beauty. Show someone that beauty- do a random act of kindness today.