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Not so Random Thoughts

The Power of Positive People

By JAN COREY ARNETT

Several years ago, I came on a wonderful summation about evaluating relationships. It made such sense that I taped it to my computer monitor to read again and again.

The message was, that if, in the company of or in conversation with, another person (today that would include phone, texting, emails, and skype), your energy is being drained from you, something is amiss in the relationship. Good relationships should leave us feeling renewed and our emotional well refilled, because there is give and take, mutual concern, and a sharing of emotional space.

I thought of these words and their impact when, earlier this year, I began the process of creating a fund, held with a community foundation, that would give people who care about traditional barns and saving them, a place to go for financial help to make good things happen. The goal of creating the fund has been in my heart and on my bucket list for several years. But observations of and conversations with seemingly ideal organizations to be recipients of gifted money, left me feeling drained. My energy waned.

Then, I landed where I should have started in the first place, with my local community foundation. And therein begins an experience with the power of positive people. Foundation staff responded with enthusiasm, listened to my ideas, offered advice, gave extra effort to getting necessary legal and fundraising documents in place, and most importantly were encouraging about the merit of the vision. This would not become “their” fund but would be “ours” to shape, to grow, to strengthen together. I felt replenished.

But it is more than that. People have stepped forward to say, “I will help!” and to listen with a smile as I chatter excitedly. They offer, in kind and considerate ways, their ideas for approaching some tasks, and maybe most importantly of all, they let me know that this dream matters and that they too believe in it.

It is the extraordinary photographer who regularly sends eye candy barn images and words of encouragement. It is the talented designer who offered to help, despite his own hectic schedule and whose support is about much more than artistic and fundraising experience but about sincere friendship. It is the upbeat, optimistic woman who took time out from her work to sit on her deck in the shade and banter back and forth about the trials and tribulations of pursuing goals. It is the man who, despite having recently had major surgery, insisted that I see his extraordinary barn (and I do mean extraordinary!!!), excitedly offering its use for a fundraiser in the beauty of spring. It is the group of young people who are eager to participate in the upcoming event that will celebrate barns and launch the Barn Believers Fund. It is the country music artist who, on learning of my love for barns and desire to have a song dedicated to them, said without hesitation, “We’ll do it!” it is the retired educator who also wrote an amazing song celebrating barns. It is neighbors, friends, and family who are always encouraging and the people who are saying, “Yes. I will help make the Fund become reality because barns need our help!”

There is much to be done and many people helping in a multitude of ways. Most evenings when I fall into bed, I am physically drained but my emotional well is full.

And the reason? The power of positive people!

Jan Corey Arnett ©2017