A Shining Star…

As a child, I was in a church choir called The Shining Stars. I knew I wasn’t much of a singer but at ten years old I didn’t have much say in the matter. One Friday evening after rehearsal when I was actually paying attention, the choir director talked about getting new robes. Whenever it came to being required to buy things, even as a child, my anxiety escalated. I knew my parents didn’t have the means to buy new clothes for five children, not to mention a choir robe. I fidgeted in the choir stand, my mind already running. Then I heard him say something about a fundraiser. We’d be selling candy to help raise money for the robes. I saw an open door, a way. I was so focused on the idea of selling enough candy to fully purchase my robe that I didn’t even hone in on the part of his presentation about the trip to Walt Disney World. Mind you, I loved Disney. I was a regular with reruns of The Mickey Mouse Club and any Disney produced shows. That night I shared the news about the robes and the candy sales with my parents. I never mention Walt Disney World.

By the next rehearsal, the candy was in. Rows and rows of stacked candy lay in waiting piled high on tables in the church fellowship hall. I have no idea what the other children saw but I saw possibility. I found the table with my name on it and walked away with my boxes – the seeds to a symbiotic relationship. I wondered if this would be enough to pay for the robe. I didn’t want any undue pressure on my parents. That week, I sold to relatives and to friends on our street. The exchange of the bars of chocolate for the dollar felt more than physical. There was something unusually energizing about the handoff that hit deep in my gut. The dollars piled up in place of the chocolate bars. Anytime I received a no-thank-you, I was all the more determined to make that up with even more, yes-I’ll-take-twos. I talked about the chocolate, the flavors, and the joys and challenges of being a Shining Star. I’m not sure if it was my pitch or the intense tenor voice coming out of my little chocolate face, but before the week was up, both boxes were empty. I was on a mission for them greens – a lean, dreaming, chocolate selling machine.

The next week I got more and the weeks following they combined boxes of other children’s unsold leftovers to fill boxes for me. I hit the streets daily after school hawking caramel filled chocolate, almond chocolate, peanut chocolate, dark chocolate, and plain milk chocolate. They were stacked in order of the fastest sellers. I was a stone cold chocolate hustler. I even had repeat customers. The empty boxes stuffed under my arms felt as good as the wad of dollars rolled up in my pocket. My only intent was that my parents wouldn’t have to pay one red cent for that robe. I remember the choir people calling our house to see if I wanted more candy to sell. My answer was always yes. I knew I could sell it. I would sell it, and did sell it. I sold down to the last bar. A sense of peace settled in knowing that I had done my due diligence.

A few weeks later, I rode my bike over to my best friend’s house after school to see them off. They were preparing for the trip to Walt Disney World. Bags were piling up on the porch as I watched from the seat of my bike in the driveway. We would exchange conversations between him, and his brother and sister popping in and out of the house dropping various items on the porch. I was cool with everything. I had reached my objective. After a while I heard his mother calling to me from inside the house. I got off my bike and went to the door. She said that my mother had called and I needed to come home right away. No questions asked out loud, I jumped on my bike and pedaled off like crazy. What was wrong? What’s happened? The question flooded mind mind faster than I could reason them away. Minutes lated I dropped my bike on the carport and leaped the steps into the house. Everything looked the same. My Mom met me halfway across the living room. She seemed okay, just a bit excited.

“You want to go to Disney World?”

My mind turned every which way but loose. “Yeah, but…,” I began, trying to wrap my mind around her question. They had already started packing my bag. We finished up as she explained the situation. It turned out that I had sold so much candy that it had also fully paid for my trip to Walt Disney World. I couldn’t believe my ears. This was a dream beyond my dream. I felt like a rich man stepping onto the bus that day, my hand rubbing the neatly folded five dollar bill my dad had given me for the trip. It wasn’t about the money but what I had accomplished. As we drove the winding stretch through Alabama, I saw the landscape shift. Crossing into Florida, the palm trees, then orange trees, then on to that wondrous Walt Disney World.

That trip opened up a whole new world for this tiny-for-his-age fifth grader. I found a new power in my ability to close the gap between what I didn’t have and what I desired. It all rode high in the saddle of my intent. I knew the limited worldview in which I had existed could no longer contain me. The possibilities are never somewhere outside of us. We only need an intense desire. Those desires, those frequently visiting curiosities will guide and connect us with the resources that are always there. They will take us beyond what we imagined. Open up to what you’ve always had inside, and it will make manifest those things you will on the outside. I’m not sharing what I believe here. This is what I know. If you want it, it’s in your stars. It makes no difference who you are…

This is actually actor Kevin Hooks from and older movie called J. T. My family always said I looked just like him. I agreed.

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