Have you ever heard the Asian parable about the invisible red thread?
As it goes, a little boy is playing on a riverbank and sees an elderly man with a broken red string tied around his ankle. Being the curious sort, the boy asks the man about it. Having recently lost his wife, he explains that this thread previously connected he and his wife before she died. He explains that each of us are connected to everyone we are ever going to meet by thousands of invisible red threads and when we need someone they feel a tug on their end of the thread. In fact, he says to the boy, you’re even connected to that little girl on the other side of the river. The boy gestures in disbelief, picks up another rock to throw into the river, tosses it, and runs away. Years later, on his wedding night, he lifts his bride’s veil to see she is wearing a jewel on her forehead. Still being the curious sort, the young man asks her about the jewel. She explains that it covers a scar from a wound she received as a child when a boy threw a rock at the river and it hit her instead.
It’s a rather poetic way to simply say we are all connected to each other.
Birmingham is often ranked as one of the top philanthropic cities per capita in the United States. Which means many of us are giving something – whether it is to a religious organization, membership to a professional organization, sponsorship of an event, or another worthwhile cause.
And once you get a reputation for being engaged, EVERYONE wants you to help support their worthwhile cause. From letters and phone calls to emails and coffee meetings, there is always an organization in need with an important request. You do your best to give organizations your attention, but you’ve got a business to run as well.
It takes a lot of work to be a good community steward. But…it’s not quite enough work to justify the expense of a new employee. Yet…it’s still too much to add on to a staff person who is already doing the work of at least two people.
And yet, you continue to give because you understand the need and the importance for your company to be engaged and connected to the community.
Connected, as if by an invisible red thread...