By Chace Saumell // Sundown United – Dallas (HQ)
“All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me… You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
— Walt Disney
This season at Sundown United our theme is “Shape”. Shape seems like a bizarre theme for this time of year. However, I find it quite fitting.
In my last article “Chapters of Change: The Fall of Chace” I spoke quite a bit about some of my past struggles and how thankful I am for how different my life is now. All of those things that I have gone through have “shaped” me into being who I am now. Even though I have had more than most people’s fair share of kicks in the teeth, I wouldn’t change who they have made me in the process.
This year, in light of all the good things happening in my life, I decided to try to do something good for the community to try to pay it forward for all of the good things that people have done for me through some of my darker years.
Most of you know that I love to work out and do various methods of exercise to get in and stay in “shape” so with the help of my Crossfit group we organized a group workout benefitting Toys For Tots. We invited all of the other Crossfit boxes throughout the area to come to our facility to do a special workout and bring a new toy as their entry fee to participate.
Originally this was supposed to happen on December 7th, 2013. However, here in North Texas we ended up having what we all affectionately coined “Icepacalypse 2013” where we had 4 inches of ice deposited on our streets and kept everyone in their houses for 4 days. So, in the true spirit of my life and the cosmic teeth kicking I am accustomed to receiving, we adjusted our date to later in the week and carried on. In the end we had about 30 participants and over 100 toys collected.
This was a special event for me on many levels. Not too many years ago, my kids were kids receiving toys from this very same organization because I wasn’t able to buy them anything for Christmas. So, to be able to give back to the same place that has helped me meant so much.
Knowing that I could “shape” the lives of other kids and other single moms or dads in the same seemingly hopeless situation was a driving force for me. The feeling that I had when I dropped all of those toys off to the distribution center was overwhelming.
I didn’t feel good about myself.
I didn’t feel like, WOW look at me and how much of a difference I am making.
The feeling I had was more of an overwhelming sense of awe and appreciation for how much things have changed for me. How heavy my heart used to be this time of year, how much love I have been shown by the hand of others, sometimes complete strangers. People who will never know how much they “shaped” my life and my heart, but none the less, they had irrevocably done so.
I know at this time of year people get beat down with charity. The Salvation Army is at the door of every store, the food banks all need more food than usual, the homeless shelters are at capacity, the man that doesn’t smell very good and stands outside of your favorite Starbucks every morning looks much colder than usual today. The list goes on and on.
I’m not saying to give to them all. But find something you are passionate about and give what you can. Or listen to your heart and let it guide you. Drop your change that is getting sticky in your cup holder in the Red Bucket. Take the cans of soup that have been on your pantry shelves for a year to the food bank. Buy the man that most people are afraid to look at, a cup of coffee and smile at him for a second, offer him a hello and make at least one of his days better than the others.
Merry Christmas to all of you, I hope you are all blessed this holiday season and in the new year with love and life and warmth and health!
What doesn’t kill me, had better start running,
Peace and Love, Chace