By Kevin Alan Lamb
It wasn’t easy, but who said it was supposed to be! In the final week of our 44 day Kickstarter campaign, we received a $1,400 pledge from Shannon and Derek Sumera that carried us across the finish line! A new day is here, and the sun inside of me glistens. Our Kickstarter has reached completion, and we surpassed our funding goal. In total, we raised $5,450 and for the first time in years, have direction and the early architecture of a plan. With six days remaining we thrust past the $5k mark, suddenly jumping from $3,800. I was lying on my bouch (bed couch) when I hit refresh and discovered the sudden change and proclaimed, “We’re funded!!”
Eric and I were both a bit shocked, because we hadn’t received any new backers, which meant an existing backer changed their pledge. Excitedly, I scrolled down the list until I saw it… Shannon and Derek Sumera increased their pledge to $1,400! It was a Christmas miracle! Shannon and Derek are the amazing souls who gave me a ride across the country to California. When we spoke the next day, she explained that people talk about changing the world every day, but do nothing. They were moved by our effort to improve the lives of others, everywhere we go, and wanted us to reach our goal without worrying and enjoy the New Year. I have no doubt that they were an answer to our prayers. With some of the stress removed from the weight on our chest, shoulders, and beating hearts, we began to more clearly look at what we were going to do next.
Most everyone loves, needs, and is looking for a Good Sign, but still the question persisted, “How are we going to make money?” All this time we hoped that question would answer it self… that someone with great resources would discover Good Signs and insist we work together! Or a celebrity would be moved incredibly to align his or herself with our cause. However, we have learned that Good Signs are not our cause, and even though we’re aware of the selfless nature, pursuit, and energy we’ve volunteered into the world, others don’t necessarily know or see that. From afar, it likely appears that we are in this for ourselves… for the lights, for the attention, for the money. Our campaign has given us greater clarity on what we need to do, and how we need to do it. We will become the thread that ties good things together in the Santa Cruz community. We will use our viral-medium to recognize, encourage, and celebrate others! We will portray Good Signs in the image of changemakers, and social entrepreneurs in our community, and communities around the world.
First, we will focus on those we live beside and along with. For the first time, Good Signs have a home undivided. As a result of our migration, the amazing communities we have built around this beacon of hope, and those who shine it, will continue to grow and flower from the seeds planted, nourished, and protected. Detroit was ranked by Good Magazine as the #17 most inspiring city in the world. After spending the last three year there, it represents our most active and populated Good Sign community. With all of my heart I believe we played a major role influencing our beautiful, yet often overlooked, and misconceived city. When I gaze back upon the life I’ve lived, considering how I spent my time, I’ll know it was making a difference: in the lives of others; in the eyes of others; free from the lies of others; when dark skies surround others; when family could no longer rely on brothers; when children knew not the love of their mothers; when the scared hid beneath the covers; in the lives absent of lovers; when great weight breaks and smothers.
We are the difference every time and opportunity that we choose to be. Goodness only persists when we share it with others. It is a Good Sign because it reminds people to be happy, friendly, grateful, genuine, and optimistic that despite the prevalence of ill-will, pain, and suffering, there is a greater opposing force if we so choose to see, believe, and embrace it. It will not find us on its own; we must seek the path illuminated by divine purpose and righteousness, and pursue it without looking back! Your past can only haunt you when you turn your attention and gaze to it. We forward thinkers shall carve the way into our better world, for all those who can discover the trail of breadcrumbs left behind. The way cannot be given or drawn on a map, it must be sought after and believed in. Only then will our passion and desire to make the world a better place, guide us to the cavalry charging ahead of each sunrise and sunset, architects of hope in the belief that only together will mankind realize its true potential.
Until we recognize our own weakness residing in those we have the tendency to overlook, will we take the necessary steps towards enlightened community and living. Despite our ability to exist in a world independent of other’s struggle, pain and suffering resides inside us all, even though it doesn’t alway feel that. A species ought to be measured by its treatment of the poor, suffering, and unfortunate. Problems are relative to the circumstance they’re experienced, however, problems resulting from basic need should command more attention because of our ability to alleviate them! Our earth is too bountiful, and knowledge too vast to stand by in apathy of our fellow humans who starve, freeze, and get swallowed by curable disease. We are a capable people given all the tools and gifts to life the broken and beaten, to encourage those seemingly defeated. Unfortunately our energy is projected inward to satisfy our insatiable souls. Only our love and compassion for others can begin to fill the bottomless well that is the “meaning of life.”