When you’re a kid you can do anything. You can be anything. Magic is real! A jolly fat man brings you Christmas presents, a pixie collects your lost teeth, and Batman always wins; the innocence of childhood is breathtakingly beautiful.
But we grow up. Some of us sooner than others. Some of us tougher than others.
And somewhere along the line we lose the magic.
And some of us grow hardened.
My hardening began when I was still a kid; I started learning early on to shut it off, pack it away. Don’t let the bullies win. They could beat me up and steal my money, but my heart was safe - I had built my first sturdy walls to keep out the pain.
I had early lessons in business from shoddy partners who took advantage of my youth and naivete. I expected 50/50 from them and got nothing but heartache in return. I watched them cheat and steal, all in the name of making more money.
I grew harder, more guarded. Kept reinforcing those walls.
But behind them there was always a void. Those childhood bullies robbed me of part of my soul and I just kept losing more and more of it as time progressed.
I had a paper route. On a regular day it would take me, maybe 30 minutes to do the entire thing. But when it snowed it would take up to four times that - I remember my mom worrying and then coming to find me out shovelling the walkways of all my clients.
Helping people, I just knew it was right: it gave me such a good feeling; it helped to fill the void.
As an adult, though, I was always on edge. Always waiting for the floor to fall out from under me. Always waiting for the next person to screw me over. I had learned over and over again to keep my distance. I was angry, full of hate and distrust. It was finally spilling over and affecting everyone and everything I had left in my life.
It wasn’t until my now-6-year-old turned 2 that I realized it could be different. I could be different. I could love and be safe.
With that new hopeful realization I began a search for inner peace. I remembered that good feeling shovelling driveways gave me as a kid; I needed something like that, something that would keep filling up the void.
Last year I was contacted by a charitable organization asking me for a quote to do a property rehab for a needy kid. Their organization would fundraise and use their budget to pay for these wishes for kids/families that need it for whatever reason. They told me that they had contacted a few other companies around looking for quotes for the work but no one wanted to be involved assuming they were looking for a free job.
I was disgusted.
So I took the job. And I quoted them nothing. Because I can. I figured if I can help this one family with a thing that’s not a big deal to me then the charity can take that money and help another family with something else that’s a big deal to them.
It felt awesome!
I want my kids to feel this way. I want to keep feeling it.
I’ve been pondering the experience since, wondering what to do with it. I feel driven to chase that feeling, fill the void I let creep in, see the good in the world again. Maybe I can do a thing here. Maybe I can help people find what they’re looking for while working on my own soul’s rehabilitation, too. Find the magic again. It’s there if you look.
So I’ve decided to start a new venture, and I’m calling it “Soul Rehab.” I recognize now how blessed I am, that I can help people. So I have to.
I’m hoping that once or twice a year I can find someone who needs help, whose home needs some attention, that I can do a small upgrade. Fix what needs attention in the house.
I’m hoping that doing this, helping people with their rehab needs, that I can show them that despite the bad they’re experiencing there is still good in the world and that people care.
It’s time to build something I can share with my family and that they can be proud of. We’re going to do some good and we’re going to make a difference. And we’re going to feel awesome while we do it, Rehabbing Souls as we go.
Mine most of all.