There are those times when we arrive at a crossroad in our lives when a particular place with a set of circumstances all point to a moment that we can decide to use our actions to set a course that has the power to make a difference beyond our wildest imagination. When film student Bobby Bailey arrived in Uganda in his early 20s to find stories to film, he never thought he would have ended up at one of those crossroads.
We all have crossroads that whisper our destiny and that position us in the perfect place to be able to create change for others, which inherently can affect positive change and outcomes in ourselves. In my search for finding meaning and purpose, I was blessed to have had the chance to interview Bobby and find out how he found the story that became one of the greatest movements of our generation. "We had no idea that Uganda was even a war zone. I was a kid, I got my news from MTV, what did I know." And yet, upon arriving in Uganda after a long day of experiencing tribal life and watching a woman eat corn with her fingers, a bomb exploded in the center of town setting off the reality that Bobby had indeed landed in a dangerous terrain with an even more important story that needed to be told. "Invisible Children was a film that was born from this "accidental" unforeseen trip.
One night as Bobby and his team were standing around during dinner time, thousands of footsteps were heard stomping through the center of town. These footsteps belonged to 50,000 Ugandan children fleeing for their lives from their smaller unprotected villages at night where they sought refuge to sleep in the bigger towns in an effort to avoid being kidnapped by a war lord named Joseph Kony and his Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). "If this ever happened in the United states, it would make the front page news. How was it that no one was doing anything about this?" A strong statement, that led Bobby and a team of other filmmakers on a mission to not only create a film but create a movement of awareness for thousands of children who had no hero to turn to, no hope to look toward. Bobby's ability to remain humble -- despite his collaborated past efforts, which has included raising millions of dollars toward helping these desperate children by mobilizing thousands of American teens into action to raise money to rebuild war-torn schools in northern Uganda and providing scholarships to African youth as well as being part of the team that created a film called "Invisible Children" that has gotten more than 5 million views world wide -- astounded me.
The question is, what would cause someone to risk their life at the tender age of 20 and go up against one of the greatest war criminals our generation has seen? Because of Bobby's efforts, 10 years ago, countless children have been rescued, and lives have been completely changed forever.
There were two character traits that Bobby embodies that struck me more than anything. Bobby loves telling stories, because he truly believes our stories can have the power to reshape our lives or G-d forbid, the opposite, destroy them, a responsibility he holds dear. He is driven by his idealism and his imagination. And at the same time there is a humility to his power and his ability to achieve the impossible. Sometimes we believe we are nothing, and therefore we do not even attempt to make a change. But to believe we are small somethings who can create a butterfly effect that matters, while remaining restless enough to seek more and push the envelope further despite success -- this is true humility. Bobby's thirst for knowledge of what drives mankind is the motor that allowed him to end up in a war zone with out very much thought to consequence. It is this motor that has fueled his success as a filmmaker, a story teller, a social activist and a brand consultant and that continues to challenge the status quo and inspire so many people.
To date, Bobby is no longer with Invisible Children, and although he is outside of those gates now, his thirst for truth and for the art of storytelling is no less palpable. When I asked him what was next for him, he said "I'm not sure. I believe there are a lot of programs we come up with in industrialized society. I still think we are stuck in a vision that is killing this planet, and we need new visions not just new programs. I want to create new myths that will lead to giving our youth a strong myth that inspires this generation. I am also working on helping brands build ideologies that reshape people's spiritual lives."
Bobby is clearly not short of vision and taking action. He is constantly in search for truth and purpose and this fuels his creativity in all areas he delves into.
When we become the storytellers in our own lives, then we can become the heroes that make them. But they don't happen by chance. They happen when we decide the crossroad we have ended up walking on can indeed become our moment to take action. We don't need to look around to see who else is going to pick up the pieces and make a difference, we can look inside ourselves and realize we have all that it takes to accomplish what is needed to make that change because we were put at that place at that exact moment that required our talents and know-how.
Today more than ever we have the power to find meaning and purpose in our own lives by looking at our own environment and opportunities that whispers the mysteries of our destiny.
Today, for me, the meaning of life means taking action.
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