For most of my life I have been able to find the positive and good in people and circumstances. I have looked at my haters, and discouragers, and worked with insolent teenagers, and been able to soften my heart and search for something positive to say, and believe, about them. I have a collection in my heart, and in my life, of people who society discarded and threw away - I have seen the good that often hides beneath a facade of anger and pain. Loving people, believing in hope, and finding the positive are ingrained in my personality and make up who I am. I have endured circumstances that make me cringe, and that seem unbelievable, even to me, in the retelling now. But always, always, I have tried hard not to be the person who brings the room down, not to be the negative one. There are many good aspects to living life that way. I believe I am healthier, happier, and more easily fulfilled than many others. But, there are also downsides. It can be very difficult for me to give up on anyone, or anything.
I love The Torch. I love the concept of what we have tried to do with The Torch. Did you know from the beginning of this endeavour, I have been bombarded with reasons why I should not do The Torch? People have an innate desire, sometimes, to crush other people’s dreams. I was told it would never work. We would never be able to get a food truck. We would never be able to fund a food truck. Nobody would come to a food truck for free food. Everybody would come to a food truck for free food, just to take advantage of us. I’ve been told politely, and rudely, in a million different ways I was just setting myself up to be taken advantage of. I was told I should not do it because there are enough nonprofit organizations already. I was politely threatened by a nonprofit organization that I better not ever take donations meant for them and use them for the Torch. I was told my efforts would fail. I have stood up and said I think the nonprofit world in the US has a wrong approach, that when salaries are tied up in donations, we are on a slippery slope. And I have been criticized and accused of not understanding, and told I will not succeed with The Torch. And for over two years, I have brushed off the negativity, and pushed on because I believed so strongly in what I was doing. I wanted so badly to bring hope to people. I wanted my life to make a difference.
And maybe my pride has gotten in the way.
This has been a rough week of criticism, and I have to admit, I am very very tired. Today I was told the Torch is a failure, and for the first time since I started pursuing this - I feel crushed. Tonight I drove over to the warehouse where the truck has been parked for the winter. We never officially named it, but in my mind, I call her Torchy. I went to visit Torchy this evening. I walked through her, and sat in the front seat on the driver’s side. Although I have never driven her, I have sat there to rest many, many times since we brought her home. Torchy is the culmination of a dream and the representation of hope for me.
I just sat there until I was chilled to the bone, and thought, and started to wonder if maybe the critics are right. Maybe I just don’t understand, and I am blind to the fact that I am really not helping - because I just try to see the good. Maybe, in my desire to succeed, pride has overcome my ability to be objective. The Torch was never meant to be about me, but maybe I have made it about me.
And now, I just don’t know. It is a time for me to pray. To think. To contemplate. To pull in the reins, consider deeply the wisdom and direction for the Torch. I cannot push forward just convincing myself it is right and it is good, if it truly is not. I care so much about everyone who has been involved with the Torch. I pray for the helpers, the people I get to serve, the generous sponsors and donors, and the friends I have made. I truly believe in hope, and I believe there is hope for everyone. And I don’t really care if people take advantage of me - but find hope along the way. What I do care about is doing the right thing, staying on the right path, and standing up for what is right - not for what makes me look right.
I am human. I am tired. And I am seeking direction.