The Moment of Grace
It takes many people to accomplish what we do in our organization. Most days of my life, I am in awe of the quality of people I have the privilege to work alongside of: people who recognize that their lives are purposeful and valuable, people who recognize that the only thing that is truly ours to give is our life and efforts, and people who see a much bigger picture than what many others are able to envision. As a grassroots charity, to accomplish what we do, we rely largely on volunteers and dedicated staff who willingly work towards that goal, often for very little monetary return. Rachelle is one of those people. Rachelle is 21, from a small Southern Ontario town, and she is a life that has been changed by the power of hope, and hope is what she now extends to thousands of students everyday, as she willingly shares her life message. It is the message of value and purpose – no matter who you are or what you have come through. Rachelle has come through many difficult years of hurt, childhood trauma, and many disappointments, and she is now a gift to us – not just because of what she does to help us, but because of who she is when it really matters. This week, that gift was revealed in a whole new light.There are so many moments in our life that we can be unaware of what is happening around us, in our body, or that we nearly encounter. I like to call them “Moments of Grace”. They are defined by what we don’t yet know, or may never know. For example, had we crossed the road one moment sooner, had we not been kind to someone contemplating harm, had we not pulled over at the rest stop one minute earlier, who knows what could have happened? We are immersed in Moments of Grace, and in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute), we are acutely aware of thee very moments that we live in everyday.It was late afternoon on Tuesday, March 3, 2009, and the team was heading across the Northern US, leaving Ontario and on their way to Manitoba. They had chosen to take this route as the roads are generally better maintained and it manages to shave a lot of time off the entire trip in total. Their bus was just checked for all safety items the day they left, the trailer they were towing full of sound and lighting gear was only days old, and for all intents and purposes the trip looked like clear sailing…until they hit the black ice. Black ice is a thin, clear coating of ice on pavement that results from car exhaust and often forms at temperatures too cold for salt to melt the ice. The black ice they hit caused their bus to be thrown around, and in a moment of quick thinking, the driver avoided hitting the transport truck in the lane beside them and chose the median instead. The bus rolled, and consequently crumpled, much like a pop can would under your foot. However, our driver’s actions managed to save the team’s lives. When the medics arrived moments later, they were quoted as saying that they expected to see only bodies trapped in the wreckage. However, within minutes of them arriving, the miracle was made evident: only minor injuries! Not even broken bones resulted in the whole event. It is mind boggling and relieving all in one, and it is a Moment of Grace.Rachelle was sitting in one of the seats on that bus that day. She was listening to her MP3 player and quietly taking in the view around her. Within seconds that view changed, as she was rolling and tumbling with the team and all around her was the sound of scraping metal, breaking glass and shocked screaming…and then, the second of stunned silence as they lay scattered in the rubble of what moments before had been their newly renovated tour bus. She remembers very little of how she ended up on the side of the road, clinging to a team member in her sock feet in the snow, watching the medics frantically working to rescue other team members who were pinned in the wreckage. But I will never forget the message she sent me less than 24 hours later; I cannot forget it because it is why I am so proud to work alongside of all of these people:Christal.. I just want you to know that through all of what is happening right now .. I believe in LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) a thousand times more. I’ve learned things about LiveDifferent (formerly Absolute) that makes me stand by it EVEN more than I already do.I love you guys. I am here for you. This will sound a little morbid- but if I had died yesterday, I would have died during one the happiest times of my life. I would have died knowing that I was a part of something amazing. But Thank God, we are all alive to tell the stories.Life is not easy on our road teams, if we were to measure comfort according to our Western standards. We often sleep on floors, travel many miles to work hard for little pay, and go without many basic “luxuries” that would be hard for some people to understand. But we do it for the moments when we look into someone’s eyes and have the opportunity to love them where they are at, to reach out with hope, and to inspire them for more. We do it because we believe we can’t NOT do it. In a time like this, to hear our team members share their experience, realize the incredible miracle, and most of all to see their renewed commitment to what they are doing, “luxury” seems like a frivolous word, and passion seems to come alive more than ever. This too, is a Moment of Grace.John Lubbock, a 19th Century British Statesman, was once quoted as saying, “What we see depends mainly on what we look for”. Rachelle, Adam, Lindsay, Jenna, and the rest of the team, you embody this for a generation. You look at what you have experienced and you see a renewed sense of focus and passion to continue to work, love, and inspire, because we never know what tomorrow will hold. Thank you for all that you continue to do. For all the people that are a part of this far reaching dream to see lives changed through what we do, thank you for believing in us, and for believing that you are a part of what makes the difference.