Inspiration. It’s watching a courageous and determined athlete compete in the Special Olympics. It’s holding the hand of a hopeful and confident chemotherapy patient. It’s listening to music composed to tell a story, to share feelings that could not otherwise be expressed. Inspiration sparkled tonight.
100 or so people packed into a local church’s sanctuary on a Friday night, waiting patiently for the music to begin. Everyone had come together to celebrate a beloved high school teacher who had passed away earlier in the year. The concert served as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund, started in this special teacher’s honor.
The program’s first song, “Hello, Goodbye,” by The Beatles, happened to be my sister’s solo. As the first measure of music was sung, my eyes immediately welled up with tears. Not because of my sister’s singing, or because she’d be going away to college in a few short days, but because of the feeling that overwhelmed me as I sat there. I was so extremely enamored by everything going on around me; this concert made such an impression on me. Why?
Well, 1) the concert was held on a Friday night in the summer. Typically people are busy with family and neighborhood get togethers, weekends away, or even just sitting by the pool. But tonight was different. Tonight the members of our community came together to support the incredible efforts of these kids and the man for whom they were all making music for. 2) The detail that was put into the event were impeccable. From the posters and raffles to the refreshments and announcements, each aspect had been taken into deep consideration. 3) This one is the most impressive of all: the entire fundraising event’s conception, execution, and success was because of an 18-year-old boy, who clearly has a true passion for life, music, and giving back to his community.
During the good will offering, the boy explained how much the teacher meant to him and how close they were. This teacher was one of those men who had a twinkle in his eye. He captivated everyone who came in contact with him, whether it be students, fellow teachers, parents, or friends. He was full of encouragement and acceptance, and he always valued those around him for who they are and what they stand for. Because of his nurturing ways and constant positive reinforcement, his twinkle became contagious– and this particular student definitely caught it. As he stood in front of the congregation, you could see in his eyes and sense in his voice that he didn’t do this for the attention or for the praise, but because he truly wanted to honor this teacher the way he deserved to be honored.
As the strings began playing and the chorus began singing the song the student had composed, I sat in the pew and felt the church’s walls and stained glass windows begin to close in on me. I suddenly became anxious. I started to think about all the things I could have done throughout the past decade of my life. Sure, I’m involved in the community and work with a couple nonprofits throughout each year, but at that moment, all of that didn’t seem like enough. I should have organized more events; I should have reached out more to friends, family, and neighbors who I knew were in need; I should have volunteered more at the local homeless shelter or senior home. How could this 18-year-old have accomplished so much? He’s so young, yet so incredibly motivated to be the best he can be and be as compassionate as his heart will allow.
As the song drew to a close, I quickly brought myself back to reality and reminded myself it’s not about what I did or didn’t do yesterday, or the day before, or even last year– it’s about what I do tomorrow. It’s remembering that there’s an entire world out there, beyond the small suburb I live in. People are ALWAYS in need; they ALWAYS need others to help, even if they don’t recognize it.
It was evident by the end of the concert that the twinkle could be found in each person’s eye who sat in the audience. As we all filed out of the sanctuary, pew by pew, many were quiet, I think because they were in awe just as I was. I kept thinking about how the concert changed me and wondered how many others it had done the same for.
Be sure to look for those people around you with a twinkle in their eyes– it may reflect into yours and spark greatness. Inspiration is everywhere, and it’s waiting for you.