I was sitting on the grass in my backyard watching my mother water the garden. I was a teenager at the time — just returned from spending most of the summer in Mexico doing missionary work. I was part of a team who passed out rice and beans and Bibles to poor people in Mexico.
That was a day I cried.
As I sat on the grass with my arms around my knees, I was troubled by a feeling that “no one else seemed to care”.
The world went on while poor people with little access to commodities that I disposed of regularly were left hopelessly mired by the constraints of their environment.
It wasn’t fair.
I cried for a while that day — thinking about my summer. The hundreds of people who had smiled at me as I handed them their dinner. How much difference it made for them. The delight that someone else cared enough to kick a soccer ball around and spend a few minutes attempting to communicate in broken high school Spanish.
I cried because life refused to stop and let me help these people. I cried because no one else cared.
And life went on.
Another day of summer. Another grade to finish high school. I was left with this feeling that people should care more — that by caring we could truly make a difference in the world. That those smiles weren’t crafted by accident. They were created with love and compassion.
My choice to give to others directly resulted in inspired moments for others.
Twenty years has passed since then.
I’ve been successful at a lot of things. I’ve made a lot of money for myself and the businesses that I’ve worked with. I’ve owned big homes and fast cars. I’ve trained for ultimate fighting and competed in some of the toughest ultra marathons on the planet. I’ve logged more than 6,000 miles running and hundreds of thousands of airline miles traveling the globe.
I feel like that young teenager sitting on the grass in my backyard with my knees under my chin wondering why things are broken.
Today is a day I cry.
I am confused and saddened by the cold and callous opinions of those who use religion to look down on those who need a hand up. I am deeply troubled by the spiteful labels aimed at individuals who could be inspired to change if someone only cared enough to love them.
I am angry. And outraged. Bothered.
Tired of crying.
Most of all, I am determined to speak up and work tirelessly until these days that we cry are only moments of celebration for the change we together have brought to those among us who need our love and compassion.
Time to get to work.