Capernaum Prom

4 05 2017

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I wish you could have been there.

Because I can give you photos, and I can give you descriptions, but I can’t give you their hugs, their smiles, and their unfettered joy.

And that’s what I want you to feel. That’s what I want the world to understand. So I’m going to do my best to take you there.

Got your dancing shoes on?

Let’s go.

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Everyone knows, when it’s time for prom, you need a bit of the princess treatment. A fancy new dress. Someone to do your hair. Someone to apply your make-up.

You need to feel as beautiful as you are.

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You need sparkles and curls, tulle and shimmery satin. And you need your friends. (Because being a princess can be intimidating.)

But then you’re ready, and it’s time to go, and right outside there’s a big party bus and enough friends to make even the shyest princess brave. Super fun prom times, here we come!

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When you arrive there are red carpets and flashing cameras, boutonnieres for the men and lots more friends. A star-studded walk of fame leads to decorated tables and food served by people who love you with every affectionate look and kind word, and now you know — if you ever doubted it at all — that tonight is going to be magic.

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Before dinner is over, you hear the music pulsing in the next room. Your feet are itching to move (and maybe you even start dancing right there in your chair, but we’ll just keep that a secret), and then the doors open and the real party begins.

Flashing lights and flying confetti. Loud music and arms raised high. A DJ that takes requests (even when the request is “Bare Necessities”), and always lots and lots of friends.

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There are wheelchairs and walkers on the dance floor. Friends starting conga lines. Friends singing way too loud. Friends who wouldn’t know how to find a beat if it jumped up and bit them in the nose. It’s a swirling mass of happy, somewhat controlled chaos.

I’m sure there have been plenty of proms with more elegance, more sophistication, and much more self-importance, but I dare you to find one anywhere with more real fun, real joy, and real honest-to-goodness friendship.

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Of course, all parties must eventually come to an end. The clock strikes midnight (or, in this case, 8:00 PM), and it’s time to go home.

But the friendship? Oh, it keeps going strong. Because that’s what Young Life Capernaum is all about. It’s about belonging, and being enough just the way you are. It’s acceptance and celebration and the simple truth that you are loved — eternally and perfectly loved — by a good God who made you and delights in you. You matter in His kingdom.

It’s the kind of pure and uncomplicated friendship we all long for.

As the song says,

“Don’t spend your time lookin’ around
For something you want that can’t be found
When you find out you can live without it
And go along not thinkin’ about it
I’ll tell you something true
The bare necessities of life will come to you.”

Young Life Capernaum brings the bare necessities — the simple, wonderful, life-affirming bare necessities of friendship, purpose, and truth — to some of the most beautiful people on the planet.

Maybe the princess requested the best song after all.

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Could you use more joy in your life? We are always looking for leader volunteers. If you love Jesus, you have the most important qualification. Everything else falls into place as you get to know our friends. For more information on Young Life Capernaum and how you can get involved in your area, click here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 





Open Letter to Jordan Spieth: An Update and an Invitation!

13 04 2016

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Can I just say, you people blew me away? Never did I suspect my crazy idea would capture the imaginations of thousands of good-hearted people who’d go the extra mile to bring it to Jordan’s attention. You scattered that little digital dream far and wide, and I thank you again and again with all my heart!

I’m happy to report that I not only received a reply, the letter was delivered to Jordan’s parents within a few hours of my publishing it. As it turns out, my cousin is close friends with Jordan’s mom. (Who knew? Apparently I need to get better acquainted with my own relatives!) A friend also forwarded the post to his dad. They both sent gracious replies — just the sort you would expect from people who raised a son like Jordan. Though they didn’t go so far as to say my imaginary golf tournament can’t become a reality someday, they did say that Jordan is currently overwhelmed with commitments, and their family also has their own beautiful foundation that benefits organizations serving people with special needs. Jordan’s first obligation is to those organizations.

So, the answer is . . . maybe. Someday. But meanwhile, one of my goals has already been accomplished! Like I said in the letter, “Dallas is an affluent city with lots of beautiful, generous souls living in it, but most of them don’t even know Young Life Capernaum exists.” Well now — thanks to all of you who shared the letter — many more people DO know Young Life Capernaum exists! And while we can still hope for a possible golf tournament in the future, there are fantastic opportunities already on the table and plenty of ways to bless the beautiful souls served by this ministry.

Which brings me to an exciting invitation.

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If you live in the Dallas area (or would like to come pay us a visit), Young Life Capernaum is hosting a benefit concert on Saturday, April 30, at The Village Church Dallas. And guess who’s performing, y’all? Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, and Christopher Williams! Seriously!

You can get all the details and buy your tickets here. You can also get tickets at the door, but I wouldn’t wait and risk the concert selling out. If I were you, I’d go buy my tickets right now.

And if you don’t live in Dallas? You can still give a donation, or get involved with Young Life Capernaum in your own community.

Learn the secret Jordan Spieth and so many of us know so well — that people with special needs are one of God’s best gifts to any family, community, or church.

Our dream golf tournament may have to wait, but our celebration doesn’t have to! There’s gonna be a party in Dallas on April 30, with great music and great friends for a great cause. If you come, look for me. I’ll be the one dancing with Jacob in the aisles.

Hope to see you there!





An Open Letter to Jordan Spieth

14 03 2016

JordanSpieth

(Thanks so much for spreading this letter far and wide. Read an update and invitation here!)

Hi, Jordan.

I should probably confess right out of the gate that I’m not really a golf aficionado. I’ve never played the game (except the miniature version, and that poorly), and I only watch it on TV because my sweet, 85-year-old daddy loves it, and I love him.

To my untrained eye, golf consists of men in colorful pants whacking small white balls with long metal sticks, vying to see who can plunk their ball in a series of holes using the fewest number of whacks. All the while, a team of volume-challenged commentators share their analysis of the whole process in the sort of hushed tones one might use if a baby were sleeping nearby. Go, team!

I admit I don’t know much about golf, but there are a few things I do know. I know it requires finely tuned physical skills, extreme precision in both strategy and execution, and the mental calmness and acuity of a Jedi master.

I also know that you are an exceptionally good golfer. Anyone who has given the sport even a passing glance lately knows that. But that’s not what interests me most about you.

I may not be a golf aficionado, but I’m intensely interested in what makes people tick. I’m fascinated by human nature and character development and the fact that some people make this world more beautiful by the way they engage with their fellow men, while others seem only interested in achieving their own ends at any expense.

So, whenever the announcers whisper about you, I listen. And I love it when they puzzle over your maturity — how nothing seems to rattle you, and how your interview answers are uniformly gracious and unassuming. They obviously admire you, but in some ways, you’re a mystery to them.

It makes me smile. Because I think I understand at least part of the reason behind that mystery.

I think it’s your sister, Ellie.

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Norman, Oklahoma--05/19/12--Jordan Spieth of Texas gets a hug from his sister, Ellie, 10 after the final round of the Southwest Regional Championship at Jimmie Austin Golf Club in Norman, Oklahoma.--(Photo by Tracy Wilcox/GOLFWEEK)

Jordan and Ellie Spieth

You see, Jordan, I have a son with special needs. His name is Jacob. And though plenty of people will tell us that Ellie and Jacob contribute nothing to society, we know better.

We know that people with special needs serve immensely important purposes. They are our best teachers of compassion, models of unflinching loyalty, and overcomers of countless challenges, often without complaint. Their joy is infectious, and their gratitude abundant, even for the simplest gifts. They love unconditionally, and they inspire us to do the same. And they ground us in what matters most.

I believe your secret is that you know life ultimately doesn’t revolve around you, or golf, or how you rank against anyone else.

Oh sure, you take your sport seriously, and obviously you work very hard to be your very best. But at the end of the day, your fans aren’t the ones hugging you and gazing at you with adoring eyes, whether you won or lost.

Ellie is.

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Chicken hats? You are more awesome than I realized.

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Jordan, Ellie, and Steven Spieth

So, why am I writing this letter to you?

I’m glad you asked. Because I have a dream. You and I are from the same home town, and there are some people here I’d love for you and Ellie to know.

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YLCapernaum2North Texas Young Life Capernaum

Young Life Capernaum is a ministry that serves teens and young adults with special needs. It’s an international organization, but each local branch is responsible for its own club meetings, outreaches, and fund raising.

I serve on a committee that meets monthly to discuss the club’s needs, and as we’ve been looking for ways to spread the word about what we do, I’ve been dreaming big.

Dallas is an affluent city with lots of beautiful, generous souls living in it, but most of them don’t even know Young Life Capernaum exists. What if we were to host a golf tournament, inviting local golfers to form teams, play some golf, and then attend a reception where someone who’s really, really well known and respected in the golf world (hint: this would be you) would also be present? Do you have any idea how many people in this area would LOVE to pay a small entrance fee benefiting a worthy organization for the chance to have fun and hobnob with the world’s number one golfer? (hint: a lot)

But that’s not all. In my dream, your sister Ellie would be the star of this event. We would call it the First Annual (remember, I’m dreaming big) Ellie Spieth Golf Tournament, and she would get to introduce her beloved brother to all our Young Life Capernaum friends, who would be invited to attend a mini putting clinic, coached by that same really, really well known and respected number one golfer. (You.)

If you were to catch this vision, I have no doubt all the other pieces would fall into place. Date, venue, caterers, golfers, prize donations, you name it. We really just need two things to make this happen.

You and Ellie.

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Thanks for reading this, Jordan. (Assuming you ever actually read it, but I’ve already said I’m operating in dream mode on this one, so I’m running with it.) If you’re willing to even consider what this might look like, you can reach the Young Life Capernaum office at 214-862-5544. (Additional contact info here.) We’d be beyond delighted to hear from you.

And, no matter what you decide about this, I want to thank you with all my heart for loving your sweet sister in front of a watching world. Long after you’ve hung up your clubs, you can know for certain that you made a difference where it mattered most.

With deep gratitude for you,
Jeanne

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Me and Jacob








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