SXSWedu. I gratefully accepted. For weeks I anxiously anticipated this trip with my friend.
I didn't think twice about speaking. I love to share my heart and be the voice for those that don't have one.
Well that is until I got off the plane in Austin.
As we walk into the airport, I begin to notice signs everywhere I turn.
Signs hanging from the ceiling with the phrase "Welcome SXSW".
It is a bit intimidating. I begin to lose focus.
We stop and have lunch at a local eatery. As we look for a place to park I notice a movie theatres
kiosk reads "Welcome SXSW". My stomach feels anxious.
We arrive at the hotel and register for the conference.
As I flip through my registration handbook I notice La Var Burton and Arne Duncan,
the U.S. Secretary of Education were just a couple of the Keynote Speakers.
In the following days music, interactive and film are scheduled
to make their appearance. Bruce Springsteen is scheduled as a keynote speaker for those sessions.
At that point I wanted to hop on a plane and go back home, where life is much simpler.
I ask my self several times, "why am I doing this".
With much prayer I get through the presentation. I don't know that I contributed much but it is a presentation I am certain I will never forget.
I am introduced to many interesting people. We even had the honor of attending
a reception sponsored by The New York Times.
Thursday we complete our task and head to the airport. As we land in Dallas
I noticed a soldier walking towards us. As I am about to thank him for his service, the gentleman behind
me sticks out his hand to shake this soldiers hand. He pleasantly thanks him for his service.
My heart was warmed.
Finally home on a windy and chilly day. I am chauffeured to my office and almost as soon as I
walk in, my phone rings. I answer and it is Jane. Jane is desperately seeking employment. Her
rent is due and she has no place to earn $200 to pay her rent. She was recently released from
prison and that has affected her employment or lack there of.
She wants to work on her GED but her priority is paying her rent.
I am trying to leave when the phone rings again. It is another young Neighbor.
Kim is a homeless young woman with a 3 year old child.
When she discovered her sister was pregnant and using drugs. Kim decided she would
take custody of this baby girl when she was born.
It has been three years since this adventure began for Kim and this little blue eyed curly haired baby girl.
Kim is looking for work and a place for her and this precious baby girl.
I hang up and sit quietly in my chair. I am gently reminded "why I do this".
We are her voice. If we don't speak on her behalf who will.
I will speak in front of any crowd.
I will speak any where.
I will speak whenever I am asked.
I will speak even when I am not asked.
I will speak and not be intimated, not even by Bruce Springsteen.
"Speaking on behalf of others is love made visible"