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  • Writer's pictureJohn Girton

The Importance of “Why”

I may get in trouble for this but, if you know me, you know that I don’t mind speaking from my heart.

I have been a resident here longer than I haven’t been a resident, in the Near Northwest area. Before donning this title, “Community Builder”, I was a volunteer. Before I was a volunteer I worked only for myself and my family. There was no community service in my life because, like many of you, I chose to focus on what I thought was important. Making a good paycheck; acquiring material possessions; finding a mate; saving for retirement; keep my head above water; live the American “dream”.

So, I worked myself mentally and physically harder than necessary to achieve what I thought was the path to that “dream”! Yet, at every corner, I was always met with setbacks. Get a new house, but didn’t know the importance of an inspection or a real estate attorney. Apply to a college with loans but, ignored the free scholarship opportunities. Spend endless amounts of money on popular but talentless artists not realizing that an artist of substance lived just down the street. Scratched off a business idea, because I didn’t know that grants and resources were out there for “someone like me”. And even feeling like I didn’t identify or relate to my neighbors, because I assumed that we didn’t have the same life experiences and they would feel some kind of way about me.

In all these instances, I felt alone. Like it was me trying to hold up the entire world on my own. And I kept falling time after time after time…

Then I was plunged into this whole world of “community service”. Even though my eyes were wide open at the time, I could always feel my “old self” trying to call me back saying things like… “My voice isn’t important”, “We are like crabs in a barrel” or “I’m not qualified to do this”, and even “They don’t care about us”. I even began to justify those feelings by only seeing the unfortunate breakdowns in various community workers, leaders and organizations.

But then I realized that maybe I am seeing those things because that is the creator’s way of calling me to get off my behind and do something about it. So I did…

I showed up!!!

Then I showed up a second time. Then a third, and then every time I could be available. And, I learned things. I learned that I wasn’t alone. That people like me and unlike me, shared some of the same stories. Looked for the same answers. See the bigger picture. And yes, sometimes it hurts to see our community not work together, or even worse, to be ignored or targeted.

However, there’s always at least one person who will stand by another to fight, love or bring good news! Your stories are important, that’s why the NNW Exchange is your community newsletter, because someone needs to hear YOUR stories too ... from YOU!

Ron Rice,

Community Builder

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