Saturday, December 02, 2006

Vision -- Becoming Part of Something Bigger

Three years ago I volunteered to serve with a team traveling to Brazil. We flew to San Paulos and then drove to a harbor where we boarded a large boat. We traveled down the Amazon and it was stunning. Eventually the water narrowed, and then again, and we climbed out of the larger boat into smaller boats, and then eventually into canoes. And then we entered the heart of the rain forest.

People canoed down the Amazon, some all night long, in the deep darkness with the marble-sized yellow eyeballs of crocodiles watching their journey. It was dangerous, but for many of them health care wasn't an option. This was their opportunity to have infected teeth removed, diseases treated, and for the group that came my way, a chance to see. I was in charge of the eye charts.

I loved the moments that happened throughout the day--the moment that a pair of glasses was put on the face of someone who had never owned a pair, or perhaps only owned a cracked or worn pair inherited from a relative (wrong prescription, wrong fit, but all that they had). Some people's vision was so limited that they literally had their sight restored. It was awesome!

They shouted. Some danced. One grabbed the team member and swung her around. Others went to friends and family and delighted in "seeing" them for the first time in a long time.

There are many kinds of vision. This story reflects one kind. But there is another type of vision. It's the ability to see beyond yourself. Dreaming is one thing, and it's awesome. It's your goals. Your hopes. Your desires. But vision is becoming a part of something greater.

A visionary looks down the road. She looks at her community, her school, her friends, her faith, and asks "where do I fit in this?".

This past Thursday I spoke at a highschool in my own city. I'm a community mentor and speak in four different high schools to freshman girls. You see, that lines up with my vision. My heart/my mission is to show that God is relevant today.

I don't talk about my faith, because I cannot in the school system. But I walk in as a woman of faith and through my words and my actions, I SHOW what a woman of faith looks like. Living as a person of faith in every part of life (not just in church or church stuff) shows that God is relevant in everyday life.

Vision. It's why I mentor writers at Real Teen Faith. It's why I write books to teens. It's why I speak. It's why I'm a community mentor. It's why I blog. It's interwoven in my life with my children, and my husband. It's seeing the bigger picture in what you get to do every day.

You see, having vision means that you will leave a legacy.

This spring 475 freshmen girls and 30 community mentors will work together on our first 2010 Challenge project. We want to leave a mark on our community. The ideas that the girls shared are amazing: working with the homeless, creating a beautiful archway of all of our hands and placing it downtown, repairing the homes of the elderly, having Christmas in March for children who may not have had it in December. The ideas flooded--once they realized that they could be visionaries. I'll let you know later what we decide and share pictures this spring.

So, vision is:
  • seeing beyond your own dreams
  • seeing beyond your own circumstances
  • seeing the needs of your community or of others
  • seeing where you can play a small part
  • joining others to leave a legacy

What is your vision?

Suzie Eller (T. Suzanne)

What is your vision?


Erin said...

Great post! Thank-you!

Dionna Sanchez said...

I love your post. And you are so right that vision is seeing beyond yourself. The moments that we touch other lives never leave us - they only propel us on more.