If We Believe It...

by Lauri Gwilt
October 15, 2017
If We Believe It...
If We Believe It...

"I've had two profoundly humbling days in my life.” he began. “The first was the day my son was born. The second was that unforgettable day at the auction house."

This was David’s answer to the question I had asked a group of learners during a session I was guiding, “When in your life have you set a big goal and had no idea at the time how you were going to make it happen?” David - a stocky, denim-clad, kind-eyed fellow hadn’t said much during the first three days of our session, until he heard this question. In that moment David’s physiology changed. He became energized and animated from head to toe.

David stood up, shoved his hands in his pockets, and began to tell us a story. “Many generations before I was born, our family’s eighty-acre farm was separated and willed to a distant relative. We were heartbroken. I come from a long line of farmers, so I’ve heard this story over and over since I was a small child. These stories fueled a passion within me my entire life to make the family farm whole again.”

Fast forward to a number of years ago when David and his family learned that their longed-for eighty acres was going to be sold at auction within a short couple of weeks. Suddenly, at the ripe old age of twenty-something, David needed to figure out how to find an extraordinarily large sum of money. "Even though I had dreamed of getting the land back for as long as I could remember, when the day came, I wasn't ready."

He knew in his heart though, he had to give it his very best effort - and after two weeks of sleepless nights, meticulous planning and creative thinking, he and his father came up with their ‘best number’ and headed for auction.

When they walked through the door of the auction house that night their hearts immediately sunk. The place was packed to capacity with more than two hundred farmers, most of whom had much larger farms, more resources, and could outbid he and his father many times over. The Auctioneer called the session to order and asked for the first bid. David and his dad looked at each other in the eye, took a collective deep breath, and made their bid. The auctioneer acknowledged their bid, and then proceeded to call for the next bid.

A deafening silence falls over the room.

After many attempts to solicit another bid, the auctioneer called for a break. When they reconvened, a second bid was once again called for.


Three times they took breaks, each time the room remained completely silent. Finally, the auctioneer had no choice but to award David and his father the winning bid. The family farm was whole once again. David and his father were stunned. And humbled.

The expression on David’s face, and the emotion in his voice, as he told us his story will be etched in my mind forever.  The other participants and I couldn’t help but lean forward, hanging on his every word. After David finished his story I asked him what he thought had occurred in the auction house that night, and without missing a beat, he looked at me with an intensity in his eyes and replied, “Respect.”

Taking our cue from the farmers in the auction house, the participants and I sat in silence for many moments as we contemplated David’s answer. I remember thinking, “There it is, there’s another example of what’s right with our world. Community.”

There are enough of us out there collecting stories of what’s going wrong with our world. I want to be a collector of stories like this one. Stories that remind me there is far more ‘right’ going on out there than there is wrong.

Dewitt says, “If we believe it, we’ll see it.” I agree, and the more I believe there will be an endless stream of stories to gather that show how good people are…the more I seem to find them. 



Back to the blog

“When in your life have you set a big goal and had no idea at the time how you were going to make it happen?” B'Shert is a Hebrew word that loosely means "it's meant to happen", typically used between two soul mates. In this context, it's about my taking the time to check out this blog and reading the opening quote. I'm continually amazed by that very concept. When I was 19 I took a European Study Tour through my college History Dept. I was asked by my Department Chairman/Tour Director to help out on a promotional film that he was making about this trip. I agreed, never having been involved in film production before that time. 6 weeks, 7 European countries and having had the "experience/trip of a life time" I came home knowing what I wanted to do for my career, if not the rest of my life....I was going to be a Cinematographer. When I retuned to Kennedy Airport and saw my parents who were there to take me home, the first thing I said to them was "I know what I want to do for my career and it's not teaching"! They were shocked to say the least. Their first response was "but you don't know anything about that business, there's no security in that, you've got to be a teacher and have a civil service job!"
So, 40 years later...I retired from ABC News in New York City, after 27 years working for them as a TV News Cameraman/editor/field producer/Satellite truck operator, and having worked at a couple of tv stations prior to making it to the position that I'd envisioned in 1968. I've been retired since 2007, but still work in video and still photography. In addition to shooting, I now teach! Mom and Dad...both of our wishes have come true.

Once again Lauri, you have given us an opportunity to stop and see another example of celebration. Thank you for showing us how to look at a situation that many people would normally not even give a second thought to. I agree - the power of community is amazing and if we believe good things will happen, then they can and do! Great job!

I wholeheartedly agree with you Sherrin, often we don't give a second thought to the situations that unfold around us, which I think is why I love Celebrate What's Right with such profound affection. When we see our world through a lens of celebration we more easily spot those situations, moments, and events that fill our cup, give us energy, and lighten our mood. Thanks so much for taking a moment to offer such affirming words Sherrin, they not only give me a skip in my step, but they help to expand the conversation for other Celebrators! So...great job right back at ya!

Beautiful story and a much needed reminder of what's good in our world. "Community", in which kindness and respect are essential components.

Thank you for taking a few moments to offer such kind and encouraging words, Jim. I could not agree with you more that these are essential components. In terms of community, what Dewitt has started with his wonderful message of celebration, is a community of Celebrators...I'm grateful that you and I are both a part of such a community. :)

Thanks for this great story and for all that you do for this world!

What a lovely thing to say Ben - thank you for taking a moment out of your day to offer such affirming words!

Beautiful story. Would that we could spread the word for all to understand the enormous power of kindness and, yes, respect. Thank you Lauri for this wonderful post.

By just being part of the Celebrate What's Right community, we are spreading that word Roberta! A community of Celebrators...I love that idea. Thank you for taking a moment to offer your wonderful words Roberta!

Many, many happy tears from this most heartwarming story, Lauri. So many people have lost faith in society in general. We think that because there is greed in the world that "everyone" is greedy. This wonderful man's story of how his community of farmers realized the importance of their dream and helped bring it to fruition is more typical than we would ever expect. I think the answer lies in immersing yourself in your community so you create that bond of caring for one another, especially in times of need. That has been so obvious lately with all of the horrific natural disasters and the outpouring of caring and willingness to give support! Thanks again, Lauri, for this touching story and rekindling our faith in the human spirit of goodness!

The losing faith part of your comment is one of the key reasons why the world needs Celebrate. I agree wholeheartedly that these kinds of stories are far more typical that perhaps we're acknowledging as a society - at least at the moment. We Celebrators are forming a community, a much needed community. I'm so proud to be a member with you, our Celebrate Den Mother!

A great story

Thank you so much for taking a moment to offer this Anita!

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