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A Jubilee of Ideas, Connections, Harvests (including IdeaMensch and the African Children's Choir)

Posted May 27 2012 7:56am
It is suddenly Blackberries.  Well, no, I shouldn't say that.  I saw it coming--the flowers, the fruit.  But every year when the deep purple appears, it somehow surprises me. They are hidden under leaves and thorns, and getting to them requires some work (and usually pain).

This week, as the school year was ending here in metro-Atlanta, I cleaned out closets and drawers and the garage, even finally letting go of my push reel mower (which is part of the most documented lawn story in the United States).  Feliciomo recycled it for scrap metal.  The clutter is gone now, and I have room again.  Literally.  Figuratively.  And I realized that, like the blackberries, great opportunities await us if we make the room for them, and notice them when they appear, and endure the pain it sometimes takes to embrace them.

I used to think it was all about the food.  I still have that voice inside me that says, "Two pounds per square foot times five dollars per pound . . ." and yes, this is a useful and satisfying voice.  But it's not the whole truth, is it?

It's not about the food (although I am totally loving the potatoes and onions).  It's about an energy that creates an ecosystem, in our gardens, in our hearts, and, inevitably, in our world.  It's about connecting what's good and connecting with others.  It's about ideas that grow into action. 
Two new people entered my life this week: Susie Newday and Mario Schulzke.  Susie is a Jewish mother of five in Israel who works as an ER oncology nurse and who somehow got wind of a site a 20-something German man in L.A. created named IdeaMensch .  Susie sent Mario so many ideas day after day after day that they now work together, half a world and half a lifetime away (you can read the cute story about their relationship on Mario's blog here ).  
The email I received from Susie this week was, like the blackberries, a surprise, but shouldn't have been, I guess, as I have been growing as well.  She and Mario wanted to feature me on the site, and the questions they asked me were so soul-searching, that, frankly, I feel almost like the garage--cleaned out. I'm also particularly honored to have had the chance to share with the world some of my heroes, and to share space online with others bringing their ideas to life. I am part of their ecosystem now, and they are a part of mine.  Here is the interview .  Thank you, Mario and Susie, for all that you do and all that you are.
And somehow, as I think of Susie in Israel and Mario in L.A., and Betty in Cameroon now (although her latest posts are from Nepal), I wonder if, perhaps, we, you and I and all of us, are truly the people for whom we've been waiting.  You and I and all of us, from across generations, across continents.  We are the ecosystem we have been trying to create. 
My friend Erin Levin (pictured) quit her job at Better World Books a week or so ago, and is currently fulfilling her dream to film a documentary about the African Children's Choir.  The African Children's Choir is a group started years ago because of the idea of one man who heard one child sing, that if a choir of the world's most vulnerable children traveled the world and raised their voices in beautiful song, they would raise awareness and show that despite the desolate circumstances they come from, they have beauty, dignity, hope and unlimited potential. The following just-released music video, in honor of the Queen of England's Diamond Jubilee, features the African Children's Choir, and clearly demonstrates our human connection.  I showed this video to my daughters last night, and a new level of understanding of what we're all doing, separately, together, stirred inside of me.

A jubilee = a season or an occasion of joyful celebration.  
Blackberries.  Summer.  Simple joys.  A community of people who bring ideas to life.  Voices singing out, being heard.  A world connected.  
Yes, a jubilee indeed.
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