I was recently moved to build a cube that asked people to fill in the blank: Before I Die, I Want to _____" by this video. It's still at the corner of 1st Street and Route 64 in downtown St. Charles. I'd like to share some observations about what the answers so far have taught me.
I learned that if you're under 10 you will most likely achieve your goals. "Going to Six Flags" went viral with the preteen set and I'm hoping most of them will be able to accomplish that. Parents, as their dreams expand, your ability to help them accomplish them diminishes. Seize the day while you can! All aboard to Gurnee!
I learned, thankfully, that we're not a community that swears too much when handed chalk and a blank wall.
I learned that some experiences leave marks that are always near the surface. Cancer survivors and loved ones of cancer victims and other diseases were quick to answer that cures to these diseases were what they hoped to see.
I learned that love is alive and well. Dreaming of love by movie stars, Justin Bieber, Elton John and other celebrities was common. So too was being married to fiancés. Fathers want to walk daughters down the aisle and mothers want to hold their grandchildren.
I learned that the very question troubled some. One writer asked "why ask before you die, what's stopping you from doing this now?" Indeed. While there are practical reasons why some of these dreams may have to be deferred the question is are we headed in their direction if they're important?
I learned that we're funny. "Find a Doctor's office with no waiting", "Clean this board", "teach my wife to parallel park" were a few of my favorites.
I learned that many are working on their faith and their relationship with God. So too were many working on seeing miracles. The Cubs winning the World Series was a common theme in this vein.
I learned that taking time to contemplate the dreams of others helps me clarify my own thinking. I have my own updated to do list regarding faith, friends, forgiveness and family.
I learned it pays to have a community supportive of crazy ideas. From the get-go, I reached out to Brian Townsend, the city manager in St. Charles for help and assistance. Brian was absolutely supportive and very helpful in securing the opportunity to place the cube. Additionally, the Arts Council and the downtown partnership in St. Charles were also very supportive. That support is a testament to how strong the arts in St. Charles is and will continue to be.
I learned it also pays to have friends supportive of crazy ideas. Ken McCabe is a friend of mine who was the perfect mix of skills to help construct the cube. Ken's a woodworker, a musician and a really funny free spirit. It was a pleasure to work with him on his design.
I've learned once again that we're a loving and thoughtful community. I'm deeply moved by the lesson. Thank you.
If you'd like to follow along with the community responses I'm posting them on this Facebook page.