This past Thursday I asked Fr Mark to read a letter from me at the After School Music Program closing event as our family was away for a long-planned event. As many of you will know we are taking a pause for the coming year to work on a more sustainable way to continue our commitment to serve children through the gifts of music and beauty.
Though the letter was primarily addressed to the children of the program it is true for so many of us at so many stages of our lives. I hope it proves a piece of encouragement for you as you begin a new week in your Christian discipleship.
”There are so many people we could thank for being part of ASMP. From its founders, to its directors, to its many, many amazing volunteers. We could thank donors, drivers, musicians, and tutors. I want to direct my note, tonight, to the children of the program who are its heart and reason for being.
Each of you will stumble at times. Each of you will be told no for some reason or another. You will be told that you don’t have the gifts, the personality, the skill, or the background to do something you dream of doing or being. You will be told no because most adults are not very bright. Too many adults fall into the most depressing form of poverty we can know - a poverty of possibility - and it dims their brightness.
Children are given God’s gift of a sense that anything is possible. When you fail at something you’re dreaming about then the first “no” will come. The first discouraging words will come and they will hurt. Then you will have a choice. Will you follow the voice of Holy possibility or will you let no be the last word?
Never let no be the last word.
An inventor known for his many failures long before his successes, Thomas Edison, was even told that he was “too stupid to learn anything“ by one of his teachers early on in life. Yet everyone knows the name of the man responsible for inventing the lightbulb — even if it took him 1,001 attempts to get it right.
Walt Disney, who gave us Mickey Mouse and Disney World was fired from the Kansas City Star newspaper because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.”
Harland Sanders - better known as Colonel Sanders who gave us Kentucky Fried Chicken had to fight the good fight to get his secret recipe into the restaurant world. He was rejected a whopping 1,009 times before he finally got that fried chicken to taste just right.
Before the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, hit it big, he was told by the Grand Ole Opry manager in Nashville that he would be better off going back to his job as a truck driver than pursuing a career in music.
Before J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter, she was a broke, divorced single mother struggling to get by on welfare. In a matter of five years, the series took off, leading her to become the first billionaire author.
Each of these people never let no be the last word.
Each of these stories could be any one of yours - each of you are full of all the possibility that God can give. Each of you are full of all the beauty that God can give. Each of you are full of the potential to change the world.
Always be ready to say yes to the voices urging you to try, to believe, and to hope. Never let no be the last word. God bless each of you. Thank you for being part of this program and thank you for being the wild, wonderful blessings that you are and always will be.”
Yours in Christ,