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Guest Column

What's in your hand?

Several years ago I heard two speakers at a leadership conference. Neither speaker knew what the other had planned to say, but their speeches dove-tailed together providentially!

The first speaker (Bill Hybels) asked:" What is your Holy Discontent?" He went on to say that we all have something that 'bugs' us-frustrates us-or perhaps even infuriates us! That can be in the realm of church, social, or local or national government. He encouraged us to "name our discontent" and then to delve into why it is our discontent.

The second speaker (Rick Warren) spoke immediately after the first speaker and asked: "What's in your hand?" He challenged us to look at our own gifts, abilities and resources to see how we might address, even eliminate, what frustrates or angers us in the local, national or church world around us.

WHAT'S IN YOUR HAND? What a great question for all of us to ask! So often I hear friends and relatives lament about what they see wrong in their worlds! I get emails and "forwards" about all that is wrong in the world of politics and religion. Each person who sends me these or who laments in person has incredible gifts and talents to DO something about their lament. They have something in their hands!

Last Thursday more than 114 youths in the local high school showed up to say, "This is my discontent-I want and need a summer job!" They came to the Youth Job Fair co-sponsored by Transformation Sunnyside and Work Source. They came dressed in their finest; resumes in hand, polite, confident, enthusiastic and hopeful.

Along with those youth, about 25 adults came saying, "This is in my hand to help you." They interviewed these young people, they encouraged them, they shared career expectations, and they modeled for these youth what caring adults looked and acted like.

Stories abound in this town of business people who took the challenge to hire these youth from last year's job fair. I wish I could share in this limited space those stories of how youth found father figures in those who hired them, how one youth was able to pay for dental care that before his grandfather was sacrificing for, and countless other stories of transformation in the lives of youth who just needed a chance, were hired and found that opportunity to prove themselves!

I went home after working at the job fair so excited about the youth of today. I mourned that more adults were not there to witness for themselves what great young people we have in this town. I was sad that only the negative so often gets talked about over coffee and around dining tables and in the press.

So I ask all of you: What is your discontent? What do you spend a lot of time complaining about in our valley? Then...what is in your hand to do something about your discontent? What is your talent-your passion-your hobby that can be shared with someone who needs a positive mentor figure in their life? Are you using your talent, your gift, your passion for the good of this valley and all who live here? If not, then I challenge you to get involved and make a difference! Now! If you don't, you only have yourself to blame for your discontent!

- Mary Werkhoven is a member of Transformation Sunnyside.

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