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: April 2016
So often, I just want to give in.
To stop clawing my way above the avalanche- desperate and tired and bleeding. Just give in. Let the grief and pain sweep over me and take me wherever it may. So tired of fighting.
Life is a fight anyway right? To keep moving in the right direction, doing the “right” things, raising your kids the best you can, keeping your marriage together, keeping all your relationships going. Keeping your relationship with God going. Staying close to him and not letting your own agenda take over.
So much work.
I never thought of myself as a strong person but I guess when you have been told that you are enough times you start to believe it a little. Just a little. What I will say is I am a strong person with many faults and who is constantly battling depression and anxiety. I often feel completely crippled and that is what makes me feel weak. Yet I am still here, still fighting, still getting up every day and hoping to do something to make the world a better place because of Lucas.
That is one thing I know that will never stop. I loved him so much and believed in him so much. Many others saw that inner character that was undeniably kind and good and pure. Whatever adversity we may face his kindness WILL win.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
I know that at the end of that journey will be something beautiful. Incredibly beautiful.
I am looking at his handwriting above me on the board from in his room “God is at your side,” “Don’t be afraid to go all in,” Have no regrets.”
He is speaking to me, he is speaking to all of us.
The pain of life, the pain of humanity is staggering. I may shoulder one of the hardest losses imaginable but I am not alone. So far from alone. The question “why?” echoes across a thousand lips. The winds of hardship and crushing disappointment blow through all of us at one time or another. It is part of being human.
If we are lucky we can spend much of our lives feeling only twinges of pain, mild heartbreak, some tears, some sadness, bumps in the road.
Without even realizing it we are able to skate through life without a whole lot of awful. We may think we have felt hurt…but have not. I am speaking of myself. I only wished I had realized how good I had it. I should have been celebrating every single day all the people in my life who were alive, healthy and well. I used to be able to go to a birthday party and feel absolute unadulterated happiness. Christmas was a time of joyous celebration of Christ’s birth and wonderful times with family. I could go to a baseball game or an orchestra concert or drive by a high school or….
I didn’t know. NO ONE KNOWS. To be perfectly cliche, no one knows what they have until it’s gone. Just as no one knows the depth of pain and hell it is to lose a child- unless it happens to them. How it feels to have a piece of yourself die inside. To know that you will never EVER get over it. You will never ever stop grieving and missing that child. You are changed forever. There will never be a day in your life where you don’t feel the pain of that loss.
I have to admit, this week I didn’t feel like clawing my way out of the ruins. I just wanted to cry. For myself, for others who have lost, for the entire human race. I was just crying into my glass of wine when my friend texted me:
“I paused at the rock ( at Lions ball park there is a giant boulder with Lucas’s picture and an inscription on it). Prayed for you and told Lucas that I am friends with his Mama. I am sorry this had to be you but I know your boy has changed lives. Keep on keeping on lady. You’ve got this!”
Thank you Michelle. You are a wonderful, dear friend.
I am going to keep on keeping on. Because my precious Lucas would want me to. Because God is BIGGER than all of this. So much bigger…and he is by my side.
“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”