At the end of our dinner presentation at the Center for Transforming Communities, we closed with one final exercise. After hearing many of the inspiring stories from A Peace of My Mind, people are ready to dream big. We ask everyone in the room to take a piece of paper and finish this phrase: I wish….
They can finish the phrase any way that they like…we encourage them to aim high, and they often do. Everyone in the room feels good about setting goals, but the exercise isn’t over yet.
After setting those high aspirations, we ask them to turn the paper over and finish a second phrase: I will…
Goals without action are meaningless. And setting goals we expect others to achieve for us is unrealistic. We each have a role to play, and if we wish things were different, it is up to us to change them.
It’s a simple concept that draws out strong ideas and commitments. Some of the answers from our night in Memphis are shared below.
- Love was an action word we all apply and not just speak.
- We could listen to understand instead of listening to reply.
- We had a Truth and Reconciliation process in Memphis to help us deal honestly with the racism so deeply embedded in this city – to face it, confess it, move towards true reconciliation.
- That people will take the challenge to “stay at the table” even if it is with someone different, who makes you uncomfortable.
- More people would work toward the change the they want to see.
- We had more opportunities to hear each others’ stories.
- Continue to allow myself to meet people where they are, seeing beauty in every encounter.
- Lift up the voices of those who might not otherwise be heard.
- Work on loving everyone regardless of differences, circumstances, and situations. I promise to love more and see through the eyes of God, remembering our work is always ahead of us, helping others in peace!
- Do better to look for someone’s goodness and humanity if it does not show through as easily as others.
- Try to find peace even in the most unexpected places.
- Smile more.
As my friend Catherine Mamer said in our first book, “It’s that simple…and it’s that hard.”
What do you wish for in this world? What will you do to make it happen?