Unexpected Lessons on #GrowLiveGive
What do we mean by #GrowLiveGive? At Flautt Hare Davis, LLC, we’re trying to encourage clients by sharing this simple philosophy, summed up in three words and a hashtag. But sometimes, we’re the ones who need to learn what it really means.
Recently, my family joined a group from our church to participate in an annual service mission trip to rural portions of Southeastern Kentucky, an area that was once a booming coal mining community. Now, years after the coal companies have left, the largest employer in the area is the county school system. Many of the people there struggle with survival in the simplest of terms: food, shelter and clothing—all things that we take for granted in Franklin, Tennessee, one of the richest places in the U.S. McCreary County, Kentucky is the place where our cell phones are always “searching…searching…searching…” I didn’t know it was possible to go to a place 3.5 hours from Franklin where the GPS on my phone always thinks I am off the road.
Because jobs are scarce, the average household income is in the $20K range for much of McCreary County. The nearest Wal-Mart is 45 minutes away. One publication this year named McCreary County the poorest county in the nation—a distinction for which no one would campaign. The locals there, though, have priorities: family and community top the list. Often you find several generations of a family all living in the same “holler.” They share their gardens, tools, cars, equipment, and the spoils of their hunting. They experience a kind of interconnectedness we scarcely encounter in our daily lives.
Our crew this trip had the privilege of working with a young couple who had built their own house over the past year or so. Their modest four-room home just needed siding to protect the chipped wood exterior. The cost of our trip, a drop in the bucket for most of us, made it possible to purchase tar paper and vinyl siding for the entire house. The young husband worked right alongside our volunteers all day long each day, rain and shine. He and his wife thanked us sincerely, again and again. This kind of story has been repeated multiple times over the past 15 years of trips to this area. We have been served incredible meals from tiny kitchens where we replaced the sunken floor. We have been offered trips to a favorite fishing hole or hunting spot. We’ve been asked to sit for a spell in a rocking chair on a front porch, after shoring up the roof over it.
When the tables were turned, I was amazed at what happened. I really shouldn’t have been. May 2010, Franklin, Tennessee was flooded by torrential rains. They called it the 1,000-year flood. Some of the same people who have traveled multiple times to help build and repair homes in Kentucky were flooded out of their homes. A friend of mine sent me an email reminding me of the response from our Kentucky friends:
“Jim. I see by Facebook you're on a mission trip to SE Kentucky. Please give my best to those folks. They were awesome when we had our flood issues in 2010. Several of the folks from that area came to Franklin to help out. I had three Kentucky saints crawl under our house to help remove the duct system because it was compromised. I'll never forget and be forever grateful for their assistance.” Dave
Of course they came when they heard we needed help; receiving and giving are natural parts of the rhythm of life in McCreary County. Our friends there don’t wait until they’ve stored up enough resources to give. As a result, I have a lot to learn from their example.
In the same way, #GrowLiveGive is more than just giving out of our abundance at the end of our lives. It is learning to give of ourselves today—from our time, talent and treasures. I’m so thankful that these dear ones from Kentucky are so patient with me as I desire to learn the very thing I am trying to live.
How are you and your family or you and your company learning to #GrowLiveGive? We’d love to hear those stories. Email me at email@example.com or click “Contact Us” on our website www.fhdfinancial.com. We would love it if you would also follow us on Twitter @GrowLiveGive.