The following is an article in the Pay It Forward column published in the Homer News. This column is sponsored by the Homer Foundation, a community foundation promoting local philanthropy since 1991. To learn more please visit us @ www.homerfoundation.org and like us on Facebook.
Recently, I noticed a few friends joyfully posted on the anniversary of their arrival in Homer. And just the other day a neighbor, fresh back from snowbirding, asked, “Isn’t this the most wonderful place?” Yes, yes it is.
There are those who arrived yesterday and those whose bloodline goes back many, many centuries who have a heart for this special place. The stories I’ve heard and the stories I’ve shared of arriving on the Kenai Peninsula are not at all typical for most relocating Americans. They are magical and they are heartwarming. Here’s my story. (Stop me if you’ve heard this one.)
In 1985, I traveled to California for a job interview and thought, since I’m close, I’ll visit my friend in Alaska. She was a new arrival who came up with a New England fisherman. One day, I went with a friend of theirs in his water taxi to take his friend to yet another friend’s cabin across the bay. As she got off the boat, I remember looking up from the dock to a beautiful cabin and felt an indescribable connection.
Months later, back in the D.C. suburbs, I woke at two in the morning, grabbed some paper and wrote, “I want to live in a cabin like the one I saw across the bay but in order to do that I’d probably have to live in Homer and work at the little college”. Being practical, I came back the next summer to see if I still felt the same. I met a charter captain and after a week of fishing and dinners out he said, “All week, every time I look at my watch, it’s 7:13”. “Well, that’s Sunday’s date, July 13th,” I replied. Sunday was a blowout – too windy to go fishing – so we sailed to the cabin he’d built across the bay and yes, it was that cabin, and the rest is history.
What’s your story? I’d love to hear it! It is our story that shapes who we are, our reason for being and doing what we love. It leads us to where we give our time, our talent, and our treasure.
As we come out of this long winter, take a moment to think about your past story and the story you will continue to write. Where will you share your talent? How will you spend your time? What is the best purpose for your treasure? What will be your legacy?
For me, I find the answer in heart and home. My heart is in knowing that my loved ones have what they need. But home is much more. It is our community, our state, our country, and this planet we share. While we may never feel that we give enough with so much that needs to be done, we can do something, one good thing.
What will you do? Will your gratitude for our beautiful home through your generosity? Will you leave something behind as your legacy for the next generation? Do you have just a little time, talent or treasure to share to make a difference? There are many worthy causes to support throughout our community. Contact a local nonprofit today to ask what they need. Not only will you make others’ lives better, truly, giving is a gift to ourselves. We are all the better for it.
Pay it forward.
Liz Downing is chair of the Homer Foundation Development Committee.