It was one year and nine days ago that we held our very first fundraiser for The Torch - at a tattoo shop called The Shop. I remember how unreal it felt to be at the place where we were finally going to fire up the truck and prepare to cook and serve. No longer does everything we do seem surreal - at least not until I stop and sit for awhile, so I can ponder it all. Today we are going to be having our very first 5K. When we were dreaming about The Torch, and brainstorming ways to help fund it, one of the ideas I had was to hold a 5K - at night - but I tabled the idea pretty quickly because I had no clue how to pull something like that off, as much as it intrigued me and seemed so fitting for The Torch.
To me, the image of a light in the midst of darkness is so powerful. Where do we go when we feel lost in the darkness somewhere? We move toward a light, because we are creatures of light. So now, as I sit here taking a break from the preparations for the race, it suddenly feels a bit surreal to know in a few short hours all the efforts of this wonderful partnership with the amazing teen leaders in the Interact club will come to fruition, and the Glow Run will happen! A year ago, I never would have imagined we would be doing this today. Of course, a year ago, I had no idea all the things that could happen in 365 days. I wasn’t even fully sure how to operate a food truck.
It is so hard to describe the first year of The Torch. Sarah and I have grown spiritually and emotionally throughout this journey. We have learned a lot about each other, nonprofits, volunteering, cooking in a truck, and people. One of the most difficult lessons to learn was that of realizing no matter how much we plan things out, they will be what they will be - and that might not be what we planned. Sometimes they turned out worse than we hoped for. Most of the time they surpassed the best we ever thought they could be. We have learned it is better to let go of some of the planning because that leaves room for God to work, and He is far better at loving this world and creatively working in it than we will ever be.
One of the most unexpected outcomes we have seen from The Torch is the way the amazing people who are part of it in any way have become a community. Whether they have lots of money, or precious little, whether they are older or younger, no matter who they are, their presence blesses Sarah and me in infinite ways. Our society is so individualistic, and we have lost the sense of community. As a society, we are encouraged to be independently individual, and criticized if we try to lean too much on others. But in reality, we need each other. We need to be part of each other’s lives. And I have been blessed by the HUGE variety of people I have met in all walks of life through The Torch. People are so interesting and special. The fabric of my life is woven richer and brighter by the variety of new friends who are now part of me.
And I love it.
I have no idea what delightful surprises this evening will bring. I know all my decorations won’t work the way I hope they will. My fingernails will only glow for about ten minutes. We will probably have to turn the generator on even though we hope we don’t have to. Our signs will fall. The wind will grab the balloons. It won’t be dark enough. It will be too dark. We will be cold. We will be warm. I will leave a pack of glow sticks at home. There will be more than enough glow sticks for everyone. People will have really cool, glowy outfits on. I will make a lot more new friends. Things will go wrong. Things will go right. It will be one more Torch adventure that will feel surreal and glorious in the moment and beyond.
I can’t wait!