There is more joy building something together than building it alone. That’s what I learned from many of you. Three months ago we started a campaign called the Yes We Can Van Campaign. The point of the project was to raise enough money to buy a reliable, safe, somewhat new van for a family of six – one mother and five children. And you know what? You came through. I just signed the check and handed the keys over, watched as the salesman showed Lorraine the features of her new van. And I was filled with joy at what we did together.
It was a little what Nehemiah might have felt as he surveyed the new walls of Jerusalem, after they had been rebuilt. You see, the beloved city’s walls were broken down by wars – destroyed and burned-out. Nehemiah thought he should do something. So he rallied the entire community to rebuild the walls. And they did it together. If you read the book of Nehemiah, you know what I mean that they did it together. I don’t know how many individuals are mentioned by name, but it’s a lot. Each adds his or her own part: Shallum and his daughters, they repair one part of the wall; Hanun and the people of Zanoah, they attach the doors and bolts and bars (You know the old saying – Get your hardware from Zanoah, don’t you know – ah); and others, well, they do their part to complete the wall.
So while we didn’t build a wall, we built a van, many of us.
Of the 57 donors, 49 are individuals, three are businesses and five are non-profit organizations. We come from ten different states and even Canada. We are professors and programmers, students and salesmen, baristas and book worms, golfers and grannies. Some of us work from home; some of us don’t leave the office; some of us are unemployed. We’re preparing to marry, preparing to travel, preparing to homeschool, preparing to study. Some of us are rich and not very old while others are old and not very rich. A bunch are in-between. But it doesn’t matter. Point is we built a van – together.
I think it’s more satisfying this way – 57 donors total – than if one person wrote a big check. Sure, that would have been cool and it would have been quick, but we would have missed out on building together. The story would have gone like this:
Daddy Warbucks bought a van.
Whereas the story we wrote is more like this:
John wheeled in the four tires while Kasey draped the seat belts around her neck like a scarf. Following close behind was Nick, who gripped the spark plugs tightly, knowing he couldn’t lose them. Delivering her part with Olympic flair, Maggie made discuss-throwing motions with the steering wheel. Todd, he hoisted the engine with a crane, ready to lower it into the body. Heather stood nearby to cover the naked form with color as soon as every part was added. And when it was complete, everyone let out a loud “Hooray,” which was heard three or four counties away, because together they had built a van.
Which story do you want to be part of?
There is more joy building something together than building it alone.
What should we build next?