August 27, 2004
One night a week, I volunteer as an overnight attendant at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception shelter. The work isn’t hard. Those of us who volunteer serve dinner, clean up, provide drinks until lights out, then sleep alongside the men until morning when we stack things up and go on about our way, usually to our jobs. Each week, I have a chance to visit with a man I know only as Michael. He’s middle aged, a bit older than me – but much wiser.
Recently, he looked at me and said simply, and curtly, “stir it up.” I wasn’t certain at first if he was referring to the boring scene at the shelter, my similarly boring life as a GPC executive, or just life generally. But as I began to think more about his words, simple as they were, it occurred to me that they were meant for all of us; and they are worth living by.
See, nothing of any great significance has ever occurred in the history of human existence without some amount of disruption to the status quo, without some stirring up of things…and people.
And that’s the point for the week.
Progress comes at the expense of the current order of things. Letters are mixed up to make words which form ideas which are the fuel that drives collections of people forward to states that would be unrecognizable to those 2 or 3 generations before.
In every instance, people meet others they have never seen before and without aid of the stir of progress they never would. The state of human knowledge, love and kindness are catapulted forward. The ideas, hopes, and dreams of many are shared, mixed, and stirred. Time and distance are compressed. And barriers crumble to the ground.
Without the stir, teams would stand still, stuck in place while others sprint past them. Without the stir, there would be no winning. With the stir comes progress. The faster the stir, the faster things go.
Best of all, with prolonged stirring each part begins, more and more, to lose itself to the whole, until the prior parts are no longer recognized individually. Soon, only the team exists, as one thing, moving forward with tremendous force, and exacting fluidity, a thing of one mind and being, able to overcome any adversity or setback. All because of the stir.
So, stir it up.
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