Actively bringing about much needed change in our communities and hope to the broken and disheartened.
Some of what I have learned in six months in the east bay.
Back story: I have been living in Berkeley, CA for the last 6 moths doing an internship at Cafe Yesterday. I hope to open a similar non-profit coffee shop within the next 2 years in Las Vegas to raise money for homeless ministry. I move to Vegas in about a week.
It’s almost impossible to put into words the impact the last six months has had on my life. This is largely due to the fact that it will continue to impact me for the rest of my life. Without a doubt the people I have been around have been the most important part of my experience. No matter where you are or what you are doing the experience will only be as good as the people you are sharing it with. The community I have been a part of here in Berkeley is the most inspiring, loving, energizing group of people I have been around, maybe ever.
My grandmother will tell you that I have wanted to do new things since I was born, whether that meant doing something in a new way (my way), or doing something never done before. I’ve never had any interest whatsoever in doing something for the sake of “that’s just the way it’s supposed to be done.” In fact I prefer you ask my grandmother instead of my mother about this trait. My mother’s perspective is something more along the lines of “I have never had to deal with a more hard headed, stubborn boy in my whole life”; that from a woman who has 12 kids and has taught preschoolers for over 20 years. Grammy’s take is much more flattering.
Here in California I have found a group of people who are living their life this way. No one who started Café Yesterday had ever started or run any kind of a restaurant before – and that didn’t matter to any of them. Being in a group of people like this has fueled my dream of starting a coffee shop in Vegas in an unquantifiable way. I came to Berkeley with the dream that I might be able to start a coffee shop. I am leaving California with a foregone conclusion that I will start a coffee shop in Vegas. I thought that a coffee shop would probably be the kind of place that would allow me to enter into the lives of the people who lived in the neighborhood unlike any other venue. I am leaving with six months experience in doing that.
Before I came to California I would get very frustrated with people who chose to pursue their dreams instead of joining me on mine. Now, nothing excites me more that hearing a friend tell me that they have found something that they want to chase with their who life. I know now more than ever that I will need a team of people who are sold out to this dream in order to make Vegas work, but I also know that those people have to come to me naturally and the one’s I would have to convince are not the right ones for the team. If you have a dream wait patiently for the right opportunity and then chase it like your life depends on it (it does). Don’t force anything, but be ready to drop everything when you know that it’s time.
Love. Above everything else I have learned is how to better love. I’ve been able to learn through practice what I used to only understand in theory. I’ve begun to learn how to love people for who they are and not for who they should be. Love people for who they are right now, even if they are not even heading in the direction of who they should be, even if they are intentionally running 100 mph in the wrong direction. Your investment in a person and their trust in you will always remain shallow and superficial if you cannot love them the way they are today.