This was such a great week for The Torch! All the hard work and planning and prepping and shopping and thinking and dreaming comes together in an amazing culmination of emotion when we get to serve our fellow human beings. The people who come to the food truck are such an incredible blessing to my life - and my absolute favorite events are when we can just relax and cook and chat with the crowd. I love it. I love to encourage people, and laugh with them. I love to hear their stories, and commiserate with them. I love to try to understand where they are coming from and where they are going. I love the connections. I love when people send messages on Facebook to tell us that us feeding their children is the nicest thing anyone who doesn’t know them has ever done for them. I love every part of those weekly events and blessed times.
There is another part of The Torch I enjoy somewhat less. Okay. A lot less, but I see value in doing it and so will continue. That is the part where we go out mostly to promote what we are doing, to bring awareness and try to encourage people to become sponsors and supporters so The Torch will continue to grow and be able to reach all the people we are supposed to reach - and so others will find hope, and maybe even be encouraged to take a risk, step out in faith, and try something new. Today we were in a parade, and we followed that up with cooking food in a parking lot. We had mixed emotions going into the event, because we never know for sure just how much food to prepare - sometimes we have huge turnouts and sometimes not so much. Today, we did not have a large number of people come.
The funny thing to me was somebody came up to me and said, “I’m sorry not too many people came.” She looked sad, too, and her comment and her face took me by surprise. I wasn’t the least bit sad or disappointed. Somebody else made a million suggestions for us for the future - trying to think of ways to get more people to come - and I thought that was kindof strange, too, considering I truly felt like it was a great event. Thousands of people saw the truck in the parade. Thousands of people are aware we are out there now. That was pretty exciting stuff to me. We got a huge donation at the end of the day, something that wouldn’t have happened had we skipped the parade or been in a different location. I met new people, and actually had time to stop and talk to them - one of the most difficult things to do sometimes when we are at an event and people are pulling me in all different directions. We got invited to speak for a group who want to learn more about us and see how they can get involved. We formed yet another small business partnership. And mostly, I prayed this morning that we would connect with whomever we were supposed to connect with today, and I believe we did! That makes the promotional events so much more enjoyable for me!
So, I was thinking about the long faces and the people trying to be helpful and figure out a different way for us to do the event in the future, and I had to laugh. A true LOL. It made me think about one of the reasons I believe The Torch is growing like it is. We don’t really do anything like other organizations do, and that makes us quite different. I am not looking for big numbers to add up for success. I’m not interested in promoting myself, or making money off The Torch. I don’t know how traditional non-profit organizations do a lot of things, but that lack of knowledge allows me to try different, and new approaches. It was never my intention to start The Torch and just squeeze comfortably into a niche in the non-profit crowd. I am not supposed to do that. I am supposed to reach the people I can reach with the gifts I have available to me. I am supposed to partner with the people who come into my life and into the world of The Torch, and just keep on moving forward pursuing my goal of bringing hope to people. People. People. People. They are people. I will never call them clients, because they are not my clients, and I am afraid I will become a corporation - and that might cheapen my outlook or cause me to forget my place among the human beings I am here to serve.
I won’t measure what I am doing by any meter stick of success that has been developed by any worldly organizations. My success is based on the lives I touch, the messages I receive, the hope I share whenever I have an opportunity to speak. My life and my calling are all about hope and never giving up, they are all about leaping out in faith - and they are nothing about fitting in or becoming part of the status quo. I am encouraged daily by the big and the small things that are happening, and the doors that are opening. I am humbled by the knowledge of who I am and the fact I am still allowed to lead The Torch to the best of my ability. I know in my heart of hearts I am on the right path - and that path is not the same one already worn through by others. My life has led me to this point, and I won’t be discouraged or made idle by those who I know just don’t understand - or are scared by something different. l will follow my heart, and rest assured in the knowledge The Torch will make a difference because The Torch IS a difference.