"What is your legacy? Find it out, Don't Wait too Long"
Finding a Legacy:So I wanted to share this little piece of my past with all of you. I think it's amazing how belief in one small idea can turn into a lifetime adventure. With a little watering, and hope that the Sunlight is shining on that little seed of an idea - a dream will grow...
This week I was digging through a drawer looking for a book and I found a journal from a few years ago. I was skimming the pages and saw random sketches, lyrics, and ideas that I had scribbled down over the year. I flipped towards the back and found the pages from the Summer of 2010 that had my initial thoughts and written out plan to go to Uganda and work with children of war doing storytelling therapy. Excitedly I ran to show the journal to my Dad, in disbelief with tears forming in my eyes saying -- "DAD. Look at this. Two years ago, I wrote I wanted to work with former child soldiers doing art therapy and helping them find healing and in TWO WEEKS I will be in northern uganda doing just that" My Dad simply said "It is your Destiny. Your Legacy"
Legacy was a word that defined 2010 for me. I even wrote a song called "Legacy" with my good friend Cameron Ernst (an inspiring singer-songwriter/activist in Dallas) in order to support Invisible Children's spring campaign for child soliders that year called The Legacy. Thankful we got to work together for this cause.
Here are some lyrics from the song: What is your legacy, Sing it out, Play your song. What is your legacy, Find it out, Don't wait to long. What is your legacy. No one will stop you. So leave your legacy. So leave your Legacy.
Well that year, that chorus replayed over and over in my mind - What is my legacy? Will I go and do something that matters? or will I just sit here wanting to do something and never doing it. Do I even know what I want to do? So many questions. So little time.
Plans and Passions:
Plans and Passions:
It was Summer 2010, summer right before my senior year at USC and I was starting to realize what I was truly passionate about. I realized I had a lot of different interests... whole myriad of different things... so I wrote them all down. -- storytelling, music, justice and injustice, compassion, children, theatre, design, child soldiers, 3rd world countries, technology, advertising, acting, film, art, singing, journalism, marketing, supporting musicians, songwriting, encouraging dreams, non-profits, drama therapy, healing, loving the broken, the Gospel, Jesus, being a servant to the poor, finding creative solutions to poverty, advocating for the voiceless... among many other things...
I sat there staring at a list of all these unique passions particular to me, trying to find a way to combine them all and make them fit together in a neat little package. It seemed impossible. Which one am I most passionate about? How can I tell a story that represents who I am? How do I leave a legacy -- before I leave USC? What if I graduate college and don't know what I want to do. Why is the world telling me I need to find a job and one career, when I have a giant list of things I like doing and I just want to pursue all of them!! How can I do what I love and make it my career, my lifestyle and my focus? (Sound familiar?) Being overwhelmed, I remember sitting at our family's beach house in the paradise of San Diego, and I just put my head down and prayed and asked the Lord "show what you want me to do, because I need direction and have nooo idea what to do. Guide me. Be my Director"
But like most of the time when we sit and think about the Hows, or the What Ifs - I was just procrastinating and not acting. Out of fear I wasn't moving and I was saying the impossible was impossible before actually trying it out to see if that's true. I wasn't listening for direction, I was actually fearing it. So I chose to ACT. After all I went to college to study to be an actor and storyteller. And how was I living out my faith and trusting God's plan if I was too afraid to live out the passions I had been given personally?
So I took the first step.
1. First I took a few deep breaths and took leap of faith.
2. I wrote down what I wanted. [see journal below]
3. I applied for a scholarship to work in Uganda
title: "Storytelling and Drama Therapy for Children of War"
4. I researched organizations that aligned with my passions
5. I explored options for potential jobs or careers
6. I talked to friends and family about my true passions and asked
them for advice of what they saw me doing. ( Accountability )
7. I volunteered with a non-profits and causes I believed in.
8. I started serving friends in the different areas I was passionate about
9. I read the Bible and books to gain knowledge and wisdom about the topic
10. ...and I waited.. (Waiting is an action too!)
Now I can see. It was worth the wait.
But all of those actions, lead me to this EPIC journey to Uganda.
It's going to look different for you, but all I can say is START ACTING.
I reeeally am struggling to keep this concise haha so I'm going to try to sum up the rest to explain this photo below -
Since you probably can't read what I wrote (I barely could...) here are some of the quotes typed out:
" I will be helping children use therapy to overcome their painful pasts and revealing the need
for rehabilitation programs. Straight from the mouths of the victims, we will hear the stories and view their Road to Recovery. My role will be to help assist, facilitate and build a platform for the children to voice their stories. " - Page 1
"I want to broadcast the development of my progress and the children's progress with art therapy. That way people can fund and tangibly support the cause even while I'm still in Uganda." - Page 1
"This scholarship will only be a start to a larger mission of using media, our unique talent and our voices to provide encouragement and support nations in need worldwide. I am excited to break ground use my education and passion to motivate people to share their stories that matter. So it is with great hope that I present this idea to you. To use storytelling + therapy + healing a war" - Page 2
So two years ago I decided I was going to go to Northern Uganda, work with Children of War and use art therapy as encouragement and create a platform to help tell their stories. Now in two weeks, I'm going with Exile International (a non-profit dedicated to doing just that) to work at Children of Peace Uganda and advocate for the voiceless children of war. I am just in awe. Dreams do come true!
My legacy and YOUR LEGACY - is an in-progress story. We don't know what is in store for us, or how it's all going to work out, or why we have this or that passion, but we do know that pursuing what we love brings us joy. Makes us feel ALIVE. We do know that there are dreams inside of us that are aching to be acted out. There is purpose for our life, and if we choose to love ourselves and believe in ourselves instead of fearing we're doing life wrong, then we can enjoy our days! We can be fulfilled knowing we were honest in our pursuit of our identity. It takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move a mountain. It takes one step to start a journey, you don't have to see the whole staircase, but you have to take the first step. What is preventing us from loving ourselves and pursuing what we love? Think about it and ask yourself if you're finding time to pour into your passions. Little by little we will see how it all fits together and makes us who - we - are. And that is beautiful.
I beg of you and encourage you to write out all your CrAzY ideas and far-fetched dreams somewhere. Write it in a notebook or in your phone or email yourself --- you never know how writing out your dreams will encourage you to start living them out.
What is your legacy? Find it out. Don't wait too long :)