Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Cowabunga, Miss America

In case you’re older than, say 12, you may not use the term Cowabunga much, if at all.  According to Wiktionary, Cowabunga is aslang expression of surprise or amazement, often followed by ‘dude’”.  I heard the term several times last Saturday when I went tubing at Mississinewa Lake with my five and six year old nieces, Katelyn and Kamryn.  As we were cruising past the speed of light (at about 10mph), they were all white-knuckled, watching the wake roar by them while screaming, “Cowaaaaabuuuuuungaaaaa!” That day my definition of Cowabunga forever changed to “an expression of pure joy”.  And it made me wonder…if asked, would you or I know our last Cowabunga moment?

One Cowabunga moment I had as a teen was when I organized my closet like the Dewey Decimal System.  (Yes, I just admitted that publicly, don’t judge.)  One day I went to the mall and saw a friend of my sister’s wearing my sweater!  Leaving the mall angry and frustrated, I knew I needed to do something about it.  So, I went home and immediately began organizing my closet by clothing type.  Then I made an entire check-out system…just for my sister.  I even gave it a title, Wardrobe Wearabouts. This way I knew what clothing of mine she had and when she returned it.  Problem, check.  Solution, check.  Cowabunga!
Having solved the closet problem, I was feeling pretty good and looking forward to my next Cowabunga moment.  But, due to less than superb coordination skills, soon realized that I would never be able to discover one athletically, thus I ventured down the arts path. 

It wasn’t until a music course in college where I hit a brick wall of sorts.  My professor said in order to get an “a” in the course each student had to sing on key.  Now, just for clarification, I am an amazing singer in my car…when I’m alone…and the radio is turned up…really high.  Apparently, that fact wasn’t good enough for said music professor.  So, he worked with me each and every day after class.  Practice, practice, practice makes perfect, right?  And on the last day of class he said, and I remember this vividly,  Dawn, I’m giving you an ‘A’ for all of your effort.  But, honey, you just can’t sing!”  
There it was.  I was neither coordinated enough to be an athlete, nor talented enough to be an artist.  I could never be Miss America.  Not that I ever even wanted to be Miss America, but obviously all Miss America’s have some sort of stage-worthy talent.  And I did not.  But, that turned out to be an amazing Cowabunga moment for me. 

It was and still is true.  I really don’t have a stage-worthy talent.  Many people don’t.  Just because you’re not on a court or a field getting killer stats or performing on a stage getting a “standing O” from the audience, doesn’t mean you’re not gifted.
In fact, here at the Community Foundation, we meet people every day that are gifted with generosity.  They donate money to help our youth or elderly.  Yes, they even fund athletics and the arts.  They donate their time to make events like Synergy 2012:  People are GOLD a reality, so our community can be even better for our kids…and their kids.  They are generous with their talents by first discovering what talents they have and then by sharing them with others.  And, the best part is that most of their talents aren’t stage-worthy. 

My discovery began with Wardrobe Wearabouts, but nowadays I can organize just about anything.  I can see the big picture and implement the smaller processes it takes to make it happen.  And each and every time I get to share that talent, I want to thank that music teacher who was never able teach me to sing on key.  It was because of that reality that I was forced to discover what else I had to offer.   And it is the opportunity to share that very gift every single day that gives me joy and makes me want to scream just like Katelyn and Kamryn, “Cowaaaaabuuuuuungaaaaa”!  When was your last Cowabunga moment?
Peace, Blessings, and Cowabunga Moments to all,


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