When stories of success are told, the most important parts are usually left out. Two brothers, Frank and Dan Carney, borrowed less than a thousand dollars from their mother because they wanted to own their own pizza shop. Then we jump ahead to “and thus Pizza Hut, the largest pizza company in the world, was born.”
We don’t hear about the times when the brothers faced doubt and wanted to give up, but I’m sure those days happened. We all face challenges and discouragement, and nothing worth doing comes easily. Life consists of a mixture of successes and failures, but if we are fortunate, we find things to do that make it worth facing those struggles.
I remember reading once that when Babe Ruth held the record for most home runs, he also held the record for most times striking out. But all too often we hear stories of humble beginnings, and then we fast forward to the glorious achievements without taking time to hear about the struggles that took place in-between.
And that part of the story is the most important because we can use the example to encourage us as we face our struggles.
In “A Poem Yet to be Written,” I try to describe the voice within each of us that warns us we can’t accomplish our dreams, that we don’t deserve the love that we long for, or that we are not worthy of rewards.
The Spirit of Can’t
Only a few
And you . . .
The great ones.”
I’m currently working on a story about the history of Creede Repertory Theatre, which is celebrating its fiftieth season this year. As I read about its beginnings – a local minister sent letters to colleges and universities across the United States looking for a theatre group that would be interested in starting a company in the remote mountain mining village, and twelve students from Kansas answered the call.
But I haven’t found any mention of the hundreds of colleges that must have either rejected or even ignored the call. Nor can I find any information about the number of times the minister or the first group to perform in Creede were foolish for believing anyone would ever want to travel to that rugged little community just to see a play, but I’m quite certain things like that happened.
As I sat and watched the horses at our rescue eat this morning, I felt a little overwhelmed by the challenges we face. We want to rescue abandoned and abused horses, and we want to reach out to our local veterans.
Besides a number of horses that are being mistreated, we have a major ongoing issue with feral horses mixing with wild horse herds here. Too many people who can’t take care of their animals simply let them go.
The BLM does not officially recognize any of our wild horse herds, and many of the local residents refuse to recognize the difference between starving horses that have been abandoned and wild horses who are now being forced to compete for very limited resources.
Another of the problems that we face is that the San Luis Valley is a large agricultural area with a small population. The 50,000 residents here are spread out across the valley, with the two largest communities, Alamosa and Monte Vista, claiming populations of 8,700 and 4,400. There are seven counties here. One of them is listed among the 100 poorest counties in the United States, and four are among the poorest in the state of Colorado.
Ten percent of our population are veterans, and ten percent of those veterans are women who have served. Most keep whatever struggles they face as they return from active duty to themselves. They were raised to be independent, and it’s hard to reach out when help may be needed.
Even when there is no need for help, there is a desire to help others, but they aren’t sure who or how. They go from a life where each day they have a clearly defined purpose to one where they have to find or create their purpose. So when I say we want to reach out to the veterans here, I mean we are asking for their help and support, and in return, we hope to help them find that purpose they seek.
When I share my vision for our organization, people tend to pat me on the back and shake their heads in sympathy. Fortunately, I was raised by parents who taught me you don’t have to complete the trip all at once; you just need to keep taking the next step. So that’s what I’m trying to do.
And I’m looking for inspiration in the hidden chapters between the stories of humble beginnings and great success.