I grew up in a place called Beachlands, Auckland, New Zealand. This was an amazing place by the way, and I feel it should at least be the capital of New Zealand! I went to a youth group put on by the local church, and after a time, I helped run it with some other cool people. This was about eight years ago and it was a great time of my life. I was in my early twenties and all I had were hopes and dreams.
One time, a friend, whom I ran the youth group with, had an idea. The idea was to start a community drop-in centre where youth from all round the neighbourhood would be bought together and given a place to belong, as well as other good things.
My friend, an electrician, shared this idea with the team and it really resonated with a few us. There was an engineer, a teacher, a student, and me, a crazy 21-year-old with terrible facial hair!
It resonated so much that we decided to seriously think about actually making it happen. So we went down to the local pub, 'The Jolly Roger,' had lemon, lime n' bitters, and hatched a plan to start this community centre.
There were heaps of ideas flowing. I was going to build a skate park out the back. One of my other friends was going to make a gym. We were all going to live there; it was going to be awesome and we were going to change the world.
We talked seriously about buying a building that we thought would be perfect for it and discussed how much each of us could bring to the table to buy it.
So there we were: an electrician, an engineer, a few others, and me. All of us either in our late teens or early twenties, from the local church youth group. We were sitting in our local pub, probably on a Wednesday night, drinking lemon, lime n' bitters, wanting to do something meaningful with our lives, trying to figure out how we could change the world together.
It was a bizarre moment really.
Now after this, outside in the car park, a wonderful thing happened. As we stood there, feeling joy and hope welling up within us, my electrician friend did an interesting thing.
He was standing there with his hands in his hoodie pockets and with it unzipped down the front. And as best I could tell, he was bubbling over with joy to the point where his body had to convert that joy into movement, into dance of some sort. He stuck his arms out wide, hands still in the pockets turning the hoodie into wings (sort of), and proceeded to be a jet plane, soaring around the car park.
Now this friend was a bit of a tough guy, he worked out and stuff, and wasn't the giggly type, but my engineer friend was an even tougher guy (seriously he could have been a thug). Even he too was swept up in the jet plane dance.
It takes very little to excite me. As I watched my two friends swept up in an unlikely wave of childlike joy, I marvelled at what hope can do to a soul. All of a sudden, I too became a jet plane. In fact all of us were wearing the same hoodie (they must have been 'in' or something...) and ended up soaring round the car park, fuelled by the hope and excitement of starting a drop-in centre—to change the world.
And the moral of the story is this: if you try to change the world ordinary people become jet planes.
Peace, hope, and joy.
Jared Diprose is a self-employed Artisan and co-director of the Mosaic Workshop. He has a degree in theology and believes that words shape worlds. He is married to Sierra. You can see some of his work at www.jareddiprose.co.nz or on instagram '@jareddiprose'.
Jared Diprose's previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jared-diprose.html