Tag Archives: California

not just another Rotary Club

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to speak to the San Diego Downtown Rotary Breakfast Club. Even though it meant getting up at 0530 and hailing a taxi at 0630 on yet another unseasonably cold Southern California morning, the meeting was well worth the effort.

I was immediately impressed with the wonderful diversity of the club. There was a good mix of ages among the 100 or so members present, with a good number of younger members. And if the gender balance wasn’t 50/50 it was close. There were also a surprising number of newer members, as well.

But what was most impressive was the warmth and general friendliness of the club. Even at 0700 on a cold morning it was obvious that everyone was glad to be at their Rotary Club and everyone was genuinely pleased to see each other. The relaxed banter and good-natured kidding added to the warmth and evident camaraderie.

The meeting was spirited and well run, with good, solid leadership. There was a full agenda, but it was packed with meaningful service-oriented announcements, and everyone had time to share.

And as the featured speaker for the morning, not only was I given ample time for my presentation (which doesn’t always happen), there was also plenty of time allotted for questions & answers.

I get the opportunity to make more presentations, speeches and talks than I can track. That puts me with and in front of dozens of groups annually. Few of them come up to the level of the San Diego Downtown Rotary Breakfast Club. This is one Rotary Club that deserves recognition. These folks understand “service above self.” They are what Rotary International is all about.

giving voice to the voiceless

I have now been in San Diego for a full week. The good news is that I get to head back to North Carolina in only two days. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed myself here in sunny California. It is just that I am looking forward to warmer weather and a chance to be quiet for a day or two.

Every waking moment has been filled with people. And the older I become, the more of a strain that is for me to handle, at least politely. Between the breakfasts, lunches & dinners and the constant meetings, receptions and presentations, I am with and in front of people constantly. And even though I truly love doing what I do, there are times when I can feel my system starting to labor under the constant pressure of too much of a good thing.

I am definitely at that point in the trip. My need for quiet, extended silence, and solitude has become a living, breathing companion at this point, almost physically begging me to flee the unrelenting pressure of people, all clamoring for just a little piece of me. And to be honest, it is growing more difficult by the minute not to give in, turn tail, and run like a thief.

What keeps me at my post is that I have an opportunity granted to few, and I know it. I am allowed to give voice to the cries of the hungry. I am able to be the voice of the voiceless, and make those normally invisible least of these among us, visible even if for a brief and fleeting moment.

And for such a privilege I continue to give thanks. If even one person I meet out of a hundred becomes a true friend of the poor and hungry; if only one in a thousand to whom I speak becomes a leader in the fight to end hunger, then my time has been well spent.

Today, I lost another 25,000 of my family. I cannot accept the fact that those of who can, refuse to do all in our power to save them. Join with me to end hunger in our lifetime. Let’s change the world forever.