bonar crump

bonar crump
husband - father - reader - runner - picker - grinner - lover - sinner

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

After The Event

Some people move into our lives and quickly go.
Some people stay for a while and move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding, leaving their footprints in our hearts,
And we are never the same.
~ Author Unknown

These words were printed on the back of our shirts. As helpers at the event, we all wore red short sleeve t-shirts with gold lettering. On the front of the shirts was a banner design with the words—Sarah Fest, Family, Friends, and the phrase “Fajita Cookoff, Benefit, and Bike Show.”

I was there as a guest of my sister. She’d asked me to come up for the event to help enroll people in the bike show and be available for various “grunt work” that might need the expert handling of a “grunt work expert.”

Since I’m a sucker for anything my little Sis asks me to do a charitable cause, I agreed and decided to ride the Harley up to Lubbock for the event on Oct. 1, 2011.

I dig bike events. I’m a fajita connoisseur. And I’m always up for a fundraiser when a worthy cause is involved—this cause seemed uniquely worthy.

At the time of the fundraiser Sarah was 28 years old. She had two babies, ages 4 years and 8 months.

Sarah had been diagnosed with cervical cancer 6 days after marrying John Perez on October 9, 2010. By the time of Sarah Fest the cancer had moved to her right lung. Since that time it’s been found in her liver as well. Please read more here.

It doesn’t get any more worthy than that!

What really made this event special to me was the level of talent, dedication, planning, and respect that went into putting it together. This wasn’t an organized charitable organization with experienced volunteers. This wasn’t a local church rallying around the family. This wasn’t a group of civic leaders pulling together support from the community to honor these folks. This was an event initiated, sponsored, supported, and facilitated by an outlaw biker group known as The Bandidos.

However, Sarah Fest was specifically advertised as “open to all”. In other words, The Bandidos operated the event for Sarah and her family without labeling it as their event. They graciously stepped aside and pushed the Perez family out front as an offering of honor and support.

There was a bike show (My FXDL won first place in the “I Just Ride It” class). There was a dunking booth. There were grills cranking out delicious varieties of fajitas. There was an auction. There was an outdoor stage for the band. There was a raffle.

The food was donated. The shirts were donated. The venue was donated. The golf cart to carry Sarah around from one end of the event to the other was donated. It was all top-shelf and carried out with the fervency and enthusiasm of people taking direct ownership of this event. Every person I encountered working this event, cooking fajitas, being dunked in the booth, and overseeing each area seemed vested in the success of Sarah Fest.

More than a dozen area mc’s (motorcycle clubs) from as far as 200 miles away rode in to support Sarah and her family. Groups showed up with envelopes of money collected from those that couldn’t attend. Unknown motorcycle riders travelling down the highway nearby were waved in and asked to join the festivities. Music pumped out of the PA system. Kids threw balls at the target trying to dunk friends and family into the murky water of the big tank. Items donated for the auction were scoured over and hasty mental notes made about how much was going to be bid for specific items.

Folks bought entry into the bike show and then paid for each vote that they cast. Others paid money to name the person they wanted to have sit on the dunk tank seat while the targeted person was allowed to offer money to buy their way out of the tank. Raffle tickets were sold. Tickets for each fajita plate were sold. Tickets for beverages were sold.

All day long men and women in red and gold shirts directed incomers to available parking, hustled supplies, ran messages back and forth, administered complex events, and poured themselves into the event we called Sarah Fest.

But not one volunteer that entire day exhibited any noticeable tendency towards a selfish agenda. No one that I watched ever tried to share any of the spotlight. No one I was ever near seemed the least bit interested in listing all the ways in which they were giving of themselves to ensure the success of Sarah Fest. People just served—plain and simple—they just did what had to be done and reflected any appreciation people tried to give them toward Sarah and her family.

It was a day that defined BENEVOLENCE.

Respect, honor, loyalty, and love—you can say what you like about The Bandidos, but you cannot say that they don’t live these things out at a level outshining most of the folks who would never attend an event like Sarah Fest.

See, we get so caught up in the mechanics of the thing. We worry about the perception of others that might associate us with “those folks.” We forget that the ends to the means is to provide more than just money…it’s to provide a fleck of hope to a dying woman and her family. It’s the kind of hope that assures a dying mom that her children will be loved by a larger community of folks than she’d ever dreamed possible. The hope that her babies will grow up in an environment where the REAL things that matter will be modeled for them and that they will grow up knowing that to love means to serve and to serve means to be willing to die in place of even when the situation seems without any hope at all.

Through Sarah’s suffering she had given us all the opportunity to come together for a common cause. She has given us all one of those magically rare moments to experience each other’s appreciation for life, suffering, and resolute commitment. Sarah’s illness has given all of us the impeccable glimpse beyond one another’s tats, patches, political convictions, and social biases. Sarah gives US hope that we are not all as selfish as we pretend to be most of the time. Sarah reminds US of our respect, honor, loyalty, and love for one another. Sarah needed to remind us of these things because we are being left as caretakers of her babies. Sarah needed to make sure that we have our shit together before she trusts us to look after her family once she is gone.

Thanks, Sarah.
We won’t let you down.
We’ll look after your family.
We’ll look after our own families.
We’ll remember that the dunk tank is NOT what life is about.
We’ll remember that the music, food, laughter, and love of one another are what life is REALLY about.

Some people move into our lives and quickly go.
Some people stay for a while and move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to a new understanding, leaving their footprints in our hearts,
And we are never the same.
~ Author Unknown

If you are interested in supporting the Sarah Perez Memorial Fund, please let me know and I can get you the necessary information.

I'm not trying to redefine anyone's definition of "MISSIONS" with this post. I just wanted to show what the flip-side of the coin looks like to me. One side is the Alaskan Funk--the other is After The Event. If this isn't an example of a successful STMission effort...I don't know what is.

What do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Clearly a missional effort. Wake up church.I think of the 1st century church when I read this, hold the Jesus.