Uber rider of the month, July 2016

Rebekah had her bags packed.  In a whirlwind of a month, she was flying out to Charlotte, NC to do video shoot for Chevy, part of her job as a PR account manager, only to return a few days later to pack up the rest of her stuff, and move three time zones away to the west coast, to start a new assignment for work, along with a new calling.  

But we're getting ahead of ourselves.  Rebekah had tapped the uber app, needing a ride to the airport, and yours truly happened to be the only uber driver within 15 minutes of her small apartment in Birmingham.  So within a couple minutes, we loaded her bag up, and started toward the airport.  Rebekah was a bit frazzled, trying to pull together some last minute things before catching her flight to "Nascar country".  

"It's been cool to work on Chevy's account for a few years, but I think I'm ready for something else," Rebekah said, as she was reflecting on her coming events.  "I'm excited for what's next...I feel like I have a little more purpose going out to San Francisco."

"What were you trying to get done before you left?", I asked.

Rebekah, in her spare time, made gourmet cupcakes.  Before she was to take off for her Chevy assignment, she was trying to make 200 gourmet cupcakes to sell, with proceeds going to the Hope Water project.  HWP was started by Rebekah's church, Kensington, to provide clean water to communities in developing nations, and after a trip to Kenya to serve in the mission of HWP, Rebekah was hooked.  She served through Kensington's efforts, made cupcakes to sell, and even ran in half marathons to raise money for the HWP. But her next step is her biggest so far.

"Later this month, I move to San Francisco.  My job transferred me there, but what drove me there was the opportunity to help Kensington expand it's reach.  So I'm going with a couple of their staff to help start a church in that city, but, really, I want to go to expand the audience who hears about HWP."  Rebekah was in full elevator speech mode, as any good PR person would be, giving me the lowdown on the the passions that drive her.  

As we compared notes between HWP and DRAW, I talked about how I revived an old practice of mine, standup comedy, in an effort to have events that raised money for DRAW's efforts.  "Do you like standup comedy?" she asked. "I don't think you've told one joke yet this entire ride."  So I explained to her what I'm about to explain to you...my philosophy of humor.

I love humor.  I love real life humor, the stuff that comes organically.  Perhaps the reason I was never a great standup comedian is that I don't always need to be the one to deliver the punchline...I get just as much satisfaction setting someone else up for a joke as I do when I'm set up for a joke.  At my roots, I love improv, specifically the concepts from  Improvisation of the Theatre, by Viola Spolin. In it is the well known concept of "YES, AND...", a principle that states, "I affirm what is positive and good coming out of you, and I want to add to it to make it even better."  YES, AND... is at the center of any healthy creative, collaborative process, and it just so happens to apply to comedy.  But YES, AND... has also become a central theme/manifesto of my life.  I want to affirm the dreams of the people around me, and do my part to make them even better.  I want to strive to not claim credit, because anything good that comes from me, that I can add, is only good in the context of someone else pulling that good out of me, whether that be God or community.  

By the end of the ride, Rebekah, had pulled out a small pad and started taking notes.  "What's the name of the book? Say the YES, AND... part again.  What's DRAW's website?"  As I dropped Rebekah off, I wished her well.  I remember the times in my life where I have started new; a move to a new city, the launching of DRAW out of nothing, a new relationship with Michelle.  Every time was a little scary, but dripping with potential.  And every time, I relied on other people, pulling every ounce of good out of me, and adding to it.  I reflected on those landmarks, and I was inspired by Rebekah, who is doing the same.

So cheers to you, Rebekah.  May you find a community that pulls out the best in you, and makes it better.  May you make a difference through your involvement in the HWP.  And may you YES, AND... all of the people in your path, letting your passions come through just as raw as they did on a seemingly inconsequential uber ride to the airport.