At this time of great uncertainty, I often feel at a loss as a citizen, entrepreneur, and parent.
I find myself wondering how best to walk through my days to make my existence worthwhile on this earth and be of service to others. I often feel sorely lacking in my compass, not sure how best to proceed, almost like I’m driving down a road with no map while feeling my way around curves and corners. Many times I spin off the road, into the gravel, not sure how best to proceed.
And then I gather my bearings, and start again. This applies to all facets of my life, including parenting.
And then sometimes I get into a groove and find that zone where the car almost seems to drive itself—knowing exactly where to go. Where my inner critic quiets enough to allow my creative spirit to take over. Where I nurture a fledgling idea, allowing it to come into being.
That’s what happened with the Jammie Drive, which recently wrapped up for this year. I dreamed up the idea one day four years ago, believed in it enough to have a few conversations, and then the idea took root and took off. To date, I have not had another idea that has resonated with others as much as this one has. It has become something that I no longer exclusively own. It has been a magical experience for the hundreds of people who have been involved over the years.
This year’s effort was an unqualified success.
Not only did we raise more money and gifts for the residents of three local domestic violence and homeless shelters than ever before, we also had a lot of fun celebrating the spirit of the season. Delicious food, wonderful music, amazing craft projects, a cozy reading nook, and the fantastic performance of magician Alex Ramon, made the end-of-drive party a raging success. And further, local media has started to talk about “if it’s the holidays, it must be time for the Jammie Drive.” Participants approached me and drive coordinator Kimberlee on the first days of school this fall asking how to help. It has grown to be an inherent part of the holiday season for many people.
As I looked out at the 150 or so people who turned out for this year’s celebration, I felt a powerful sense of gratitude and hope. Gratitude for:
- parents who want to expose their children to the value of giving to others.
- children who enjoyed picking out gifts for people they would never meet.
- the Building Futures staff who dedicate their professional lives to being of service to others.
- vendors and service providers who gave their time and services to make sure that our donors were recognized for their generosity.
And, I felt hope for our children, that in this time of unparalleled consumption that they will develop generosity of spirit, empathy, and compassion for others.
I find myself wanting, with this New Year’s message, to encourage you to, in this time of great stress for so many and at the tail of a year where many people feel a profound sense of loss and divisiveness, that you take courage and inspiration from the Jammie Drive to bring shape to your ideas, and make them happen.
The world needs our best work now, and our best work comes from our wellspring of creativity.
I encourage you—no, I urge you—to find ways to quiet your own inner critic and spend as much time as possible this coming year in your own wellspring of creativity, so that you too can bring shape to your craziest, dreamiest ideas for how to make your own life, and the life of others around you, a better, more empathetic, compassionate place.
I, too, plan to take inspiration from the tremendous outpouring of support for the Jammie Drive to bring more of my ideas to light and life this year, to bring communities of people together to do good for ourselves and for others. I truly think that doing so is the way to be self-actualized in this world now. It certainly helps me sleep at night, hopeful that I leave this world a better place for my children and their contemporaries.
May you enjoy your end of year celebrations, taking pause to reflect on the learnings and gifts this year has brought you, and how to walk intentionally into the New Year, making space for your creativity and the possibilities you can envision for yourself, your family, and your community.
Photography handled and graciously donated by Nancy Rothstein Photography