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: October 2016
It seems about once a week or so I have this outpour of emotions, this overwhelming desire to just let it all out and blog and then for some reason I am not able to. Right now I have about 15 minutes until the bus comes to drop Bryleigh off.
This keeps happening over and over and its enormously frustrating because blogging helps me cope so much. It takes such an enormous weight off my shoulders to share what I feel…almost like I’m sprinkling a little bit of it on everyone who reads it so they can share my burden. Just a little.
I haven’t done an entire blog post since June 9th. Its October. That’s a lot of pent up emotion!
My heart is breaking right now. crumbling into little pieces and falling to the floor. Sometimes I feel like grieving is like your heart is dying a slow death. It hurts so much to feel that it just can’t any more.
I hate that it has been so long.
I hate that is has been so long since he called me to pick him up from baseball training.
That is what got me so upset…I was cleaning my car on this beautiful fall day and it was about 3:45 and suddenly, out of the blue, I thought he would be calling me soon.
It broke me….it broke me that his phone has been still and silent for 21 months. What a funny thing it is- literally a butterfly beats its wings the wrong way and I start crying about him. The smallest most inconsequential thing and the tears will flow. And flow.
Right now I’m thinking about words and how inadequately they describe grief and losing a child in particular… how difficult it is to convey the very depth of your pain. To give people even an inkling of what it feels like. I used to think strange, strange things when people’s children died. I didn’t understand it at all. I am embarrassed to admit some of the things I thought. Like whether or not the parents thought, “wow I have just spent _ years raising this child and now its for nothing.” I imagined that after a few years they would still miss them and be sad sometimes, but not a lot. Just on anniversaries and birthdays and holidays. They would mostly just dwell on happy memories and the grief wouldn’t be so sharp and raw anymore.
could have imagined how many times a day I think of him.
How f*cking awful it is to lose a child.
Yep I said it. Its awful when your dog dies, or your car breaks down or your house blows away. Its awful when people get sick and old and people are cruel and hateful and kids get bullied.
It’s f*cking awful to lose a child.
Not just saying this to make you feel sorry for me. Or feel guilty. I just say what’s on my heart because it helps to let it GO. To let it OUT. To scream it to the world because sometimes its just too much for me to bear.
Sometimes I feel my pain is pushing me further away from God instead of closer to him. Every time I start to feel angry because that its not my handsome kid going to homecoming or hanging out with his friends at the football game. That he is not calling me to be picked up (though he would be driving by now). That this must be some sort of punishment. How can it be that a loving God would have this in his plan when Lucas was my world, and not only that he was on track to change the world. What was in his heart was so pure, so loving, so compassionate it defies understanding.
Then I stop, and remember that Jesus is all I have. He is my everything. The only one who truly loves me unconditionally and is there to comfort me in every minute of every hour. This world is a fleeting blip on the screen of eternity. Heaven is the big picture. We are here to prepare for heaven. That is all that this life is. Simply a blink of an eye.
Still…though just a blink the days and hours seem to last eternity sometimes. The pain is just too much and now I have shared it all with you, collectively, my readers. Who have been so incredibly supportive of me and my family. I read through some of the comments again before I started blogging and they are so healing and soothing and uplifting.
Thank you for reading. You never really know the impact you can have on someone by simply stopping them and saying, “I think about you often. You are still in my prayers.” Not only does that tell me that they care about me but they still remember my sweet boy. To anyone who has had a loss- acknowledgement means “I remember. I am sure you are still in a lot of pain and you have to hide it every day. But I remember and my heart is with you.”
So just say something. Even if you feel awkward or like you won’t make much of a difference- say it anyway.