Today may be, the biggest day of my life.
Not simply because it is the Grand Opening of Flourish.
As I count my many blessings, as I look back at all the people who have supported me, who have inspired me, who who kept me whole all these years, I start to see how the odds and the chips stack up. It is the biggest day of my life because of the accumulation of dreams, baby steps, heartbreaks, and collective love that have come together to create this day.
As my vision for Flourish in Olympia becomes clear, as the idea and mission has organically spread through my community, a few people have asked me, “When did you know you wanted to do this?”
And I’ve come to realize that I may have been born with this dream. Today I will ring the bell that lived on my mother’s alter for my entire life. I brought it home with me after she died. She rang that bell every morning and every night when she prayed to our ancestors for forgiveness, blessings, and above all, guidance. Every day and every night.
I have her picture on my alter now, her Buddha, her incense holder . . . I haven’t yet created my own prayer rituals, but I am learning to practice gratitude, to cultivate a sense of place, and purpose, finding my own rhythm now that she is gone. I am learning to love in new ways, learning what it means to give the way she gave. Learning who I am . . .
Because I am my mother’s daughter after all.
And my father. My father. What ultimate love and sacrifice he made for her and her family. What kind and generous man. He would give everything to make another person’s life better. And he has. A sweet boy from Idaho, who left his family to serve his country, traveled the world and sucked it all up with passion and reverence.
The two of them came together out of war. The two of them brought life back to a war-torn family, brought them salvation and hope. They created a home that hundreds would pass through on their way to a new life. And the two of them together, brought me into this world as a bridge . . . between cultures, languages, countries, and dreams.
I believe I was born with this dream of Flourish, with the dream creation, of community, of celebration. Out of the murky depths and into the light, my dream now has light and vibrancy. It has a home and a place, and a name. It is a dream giving birth to other dreams now.
Before I came to Olympia, I wrote an essay about how I wanted to learn to better live in community, to learn sustainability practices, to create a life of substance. I got a scholarship to Evergreen because of that essay, and while in school I had the most amazing experience cultivating that vibrant life of substance . . . And I fell in love with Olympia, with all of you who are my dream.
It is 10 years after. I have lost myself and found myself many times over. Some of you have helped me to do both. But the dream never let go of me. Thank you for believing in me. For now truly is the time to see, What May Come.
” You dreamed my dream for me, and now that dream is real . . . ”
Welcome, to the biggest day of my life.
And Thank You for being the best part of it.