Life is not about always working hard to find the right opportunity, it does not always have to be our great idea. Sometimes we need to be open to the opportunities others present. It may not be an idea we would have come up with, or even considered. And yet, when someone else has the idea and we get excited about it, amazing things can develop.
That is what happened to Eunice Kennedy Shriver. A friend was exclaiming about the challenge she was having in finding a summer camp for her down syndrome child. No one wanted to take them into any camp for any length of time. As she told Eunice this, Eunice got mad! She invited that child and their other special friends to a camp at her house for a month that summer… never having put on a camp before. That is how the Special Olympics began, in Eunice’s backyard. Now more than four million children each year attend Special Olympic based camps and activities across the globe.
When I read that I was touched and amazed at the passion and enthusiasm with which one friend served another. That passion grew beyond any border and has changed the lives of millions of people over the decades. I have no doubt when Eunice was serving lunch and playing games with that first group of children she had no idea what was yet to come. All she did was act to help her friend and it caught fire. Somewhere along that journey, Eunice had to be open, willing and able to do the things she could do. She didn’t have all the answers right away. She didn’t have resources or experience, support or even a grand idea. She just did what she could do.
Life doesn’t ask us to be perfect right out of the gate, it gives us opportunities to do what we can in that first step, then we take a second step, and then we simply keep moving forward. Never underestimate how a small gesture has the power to turn into a global phenomenon…and don’t worry, life has a way of presenting us the door all we have to do is walk through it. The steps after that will come, just be willing to take that first step.