Below is the Ghion Cast that aired today titled “Send ME”. Make sure you read the article below the video, what I write is always more important to me than what I speak for that is the gift that God blessed me with the most.
I just got knocked sideways by a story that Kathleen Baumgardner, co-owner of the FoCo Cafe, told me as I was busy editing the latest Ghion Cast “Send Me” that is embedded above. Busy as her schedule is, Kathleen was kind enough to come by and say “hello Teddy” as she does with most of the customers of FoCo Cafe. I’ve been a regular of FoCo Cafe for the past three months, this restaurant is like a piece of heaven right dab in the middle of Fort Collins—there is a reason I refer to this city as Fort Christ. I wrote about FoCo Cafe a while back ago (link), thus let me get right to the heart of what Kathleen shared with me that coaxed broken waters (tsebel) from my eyes.
Initially, the conversation started with small talk and pleasantries as Kathleen shared the good news with me that FoCo Cafe launched a library that patrons could use in order to sit down at their establishment to read a book and take a break from life. This was FoCo Cafe’s response to the much debated proposed Fort Collins bill called the “Sit Lie Ban”(link)—a bill which would effectively outlaw sitting down in public places for an extended amount of time. All nefarious bills are soothed over by caring language; regardless of what the proponents of this bill say in public, this is a bill aimed at homeless people to effectively tell them that they are not welcome in Fort Collins.
The good people at FoCo Cafe decided to combat pernicious laws with kind gestures. By launching the mini-library in front of their restaurant, they are letting people know that all are welcome at their place of business and giving homeless people the chance to read a book and sit on their bench while doing so. This is the beauty of FoCo Cafe, they dare to combat the indifference of society by caring and giving of themselves. I only wish more businesses did what FoCo Cafe did; they don’t charge prices for food, they let people pay as they can to eat some truly amazing food. This is one of the reasons I decided to forgo advertising on Ghion Journal by the way, I’m following the FoCo Cafe model by believing that people will support as they can when given the chance to be kind instead of charging prices or chasing corporate money. There is a business case to be made for kindness; this theory is being proven right daily by FoCo Cafe.
When Kathleen told me about the library that FoCo Cafe opened up to combat the “Sit Lie Ban”, I shared with her that I—only but three years ago—was earning six figures while working as an associate for a defense consulting firm in DC. In a fell swoop, I went from privilege to indigence as my bed transformed from Sealy’s posturepedic to mattresses made of sticks and leaves. People say “but for the grace of God go I” all the time; well what I never imagined happened to me as I went where people fear to go. Alone and broken, I found myself homeless and hopeless in Greenville, South Carolina.
I don’t share these things to garner pity nor to induce sadness; in honesty the greatest blessing I had was going through mind bending hardship. A lifetime spent taking blessings for granted was bled out of my system; where once I used to get beside myself when I got a 5% raise at my job, now I am grateful when I got a minimum wage job at a local deli. However, I would be remiss if I did not share this admonition; be careful how you treat those lesser than you for in time you could be sauntering in the very station you scoff at. We are all one paycheck away from utter disaster; in this paradigm, it is imperative to take care of the least among us for any one of us can go from abundance to penury in one instant.
When I shared this story with Kathleen, she teared up and then told me about the greatest gift she ever received. When Kathleen and her husband Jeff were trying to start FoCo Cafe in the past, they received plenty of support from the community including multiple checks for $10,000 a piece. However, Kathleen told me that the greatest contribution came from this lady who walked by the FoCo Cafe booth during a fund raising effort. When the lady realized what FoCo Cafe was endeavoring to start, that they were trying to provide healthy food to the community for a price anyone can afford, she initially walked away.
She returned a few minutes later and told Kathleen that she was a full time caregiver for her husband who was stricken with cancer. Tearfully, she told Kathleen that FoCo Cafe was needed in the community because there are too many who can’t afford to eat any food let alone healthy meals. She then gave Kathleen a few dollars as a contribution, refer to Mark 12:42 and you will realize why Yeshua considered the few pennies a widow gave as the greatest of contributions. Kathleen, with tears welling up in her eyes, told me that occasion was her single most memorable moment for her since they decided to open up FoCo Cafe. Sometimes we give without realizing that the gifts we give touch people’s lives in ways we can’t imagine. Imagine how the world would transform if each of us committed to giving as we can instead of demanding change through rhetoric and impatience.
Each one of us have gifts that we can give to the world to make this planet a better place for our children. The crux of this article is such; we can all be like Yeshua and let love heal the brokenness of this world if only we decided to send as much as we get. A long time ago, I heard a politician saying “send him” when I was in Charlotte, North Carolina. Most of us keep waiting for the rich and powerful to send of themselves and change the world when their status is dependent on the status quo remaining as is. We keep waiting for someone else to be the change; what if instead we say “send me” and give to the world the talents we have been blessed with.
No longer will I wait for someone else to answer the call within me, the lord speaks to all of us to step up and give as we can. For a lifetime I’ve been running from that voice and saying “don’t send me” as I sent myself to a life of chasing flesh and self-pursuits. I’m not running from the calling within me anymore. From now on my response is “here I am lord, send me!” From one to many; world peace is arrived at when each one of us decide to be the change that we want the world to be. Hate can’t defeat hate, only love can mend the brokenness of the world. #SendME
“Then I heardthe voiceof the Lord,saying,”Whomshall I send,and whowill gofor Us?” Then I said,”Heream I. Sendme!” ~ Isaiah 6:8
If you appreciate the message behind this write up and want others to say “send me” so that we can make a difference together, share this article on social media using #SendME. Have a blessed day, may you be sent love as you send love to others.
When you get a chance, give the Fort Collins City Council a piece of your mind and let them know to stop legislating hatred and greed and to be more like FoCo Cafe instead. Send them an email regardless of where you live and let them know that you oppose the “Sit Lie ban”. Email the Fort Collins City Council at firstname.lastname@example.org or click on the Fort Collins City Council picture below to be taken to the contact info for each council member.
Find out about the FoCo Cafe by watching the video below
Visit the FoCo Cafe by clicking on the picture below.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
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