Friday, September 20, 2013


I've been thinking a lot about the word power lately. Have you ever looked at how widely that word is used, in all kinds of ways? You hear about all sorts of types. The power of your thoughts. Power to do good. The power of God. Girl power. Power power power. The more you think about a word, the weirder it sounds. Power.

But that's not the point. The point is, my life has had some ups and downs lately that have been primarily determined by outside factors. Some potential changes, some real changes. Some learning curves, some figuring out of feelings. Was all of that vague enough for you? Good. The point is, I've been paying attention to what makes me feel powerless, and what makes me feel powerful.

Exhibit A: Powerless.

Dang it, right? Just one of those bummers in life. Those flashing lights and the waiting game just make you feel small... like you've been snatched out of your day that was moving right along (too quickly) and suddenly you are at someone else's mercy. And you're sitting there, doing some math in your head about what part of your budget is paying for this Ticket to Ride, and you just kind of deflate. In that moment, I feel like I have very little power. (But in the moment the cop told me his computer wasn't working, so it was my lucky day and I wasn't getting a ticket, I definitely perked up a little.) In moments when outside factors throw me curve balls, I sometimes let myself feel powerless. But then there is...

Exhibit B: Powerful.

Check out this darling little girl. This is my "Little Sister", and that right there is power. She almost looks ready for the Hunger Games. We spent our Saturday at Hidden River Farms a couple weeks ago, playing ladder ball and cornhole, taking hay rides, having a barbecue, and yep, even practicing some archery. She was a natural. My triceps almost couldn't get me through my 10 arrows. (That's an entirely different type of powerless...but, oh how I sometimes feel that one, too.)

We also spent some time that day doing a service project with all the other Bigs and Littles that were there. We cut and decorated fleece super hero capes for Riley Children's Hospital, so the sweet kids there can wear them during their battles.

When we were done decorating our (leopard print and polka dot) capes, my Little Sister said, "I bet a kid will be so excited to get this cape. They're going to feel so strong. Like they can just fight stuff. Like cancer."

They're going to feel powerful.

That day was a good day. It was one of those days when outside factors just have nothing on you, you know? Partly because we just had so much fun - we fed catfish and saw snakes and ate really big cookies. But mostly, it's because days like that make you feel the true kind of powerful. To me, feeling powerful is a paradox - you get that feeling when you relinquish control, and give more of yourself to others. That is the best kind of accomplishment, and you feel empowered to do more, be more, give more.

This little girl felt powerful that day because she spent time serving other kids. Kids that she'll never even meet. And I felt powerful that day because I watched her love that feeling, and I felt it myself from just being there with her when I could have made myself busy with a million other less important things. I hope she always knows and remembers how powerful she is, and that she is in charge of what her life becomes. I hope she remembers that service is empowering. Mostly, I just hope that she grows up truly knowing who she is and how much self-worth she has. That alone should keep all of us feeling strong, and capable. And powerful.

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