I made a friend on social media recently and have been feeling very compelled to write about him. Although we haven’t met face to face, I find he is actually an incredibly inspiring person.
His name is Kevin Lilly and he lives in the Lancaster area of South Carolina. By all appearances, and even more importantly by his actions, he is Christian man with an unbelievably huge heart. We share a common passion and goal — the homeless and making the world a better place.
Kevin collects canned goods, food, blankets, water, and any other supplies anyone will provide to distribute to those who live on our streets, in our wooded areas, and any other place you could possibly imagine. This is not a passing fancy as having a family of his own he devotes much of his time not only to them but to going out, finding those who are without a home — literally hunting, scouting, and locating — and gives them as much assistance as he is able to offer, sharing his religion and his life with them as well.
All on his own time and on his own dime.
I want to take a moment to point out what a talented artist he is as well and is a veteran. He shares his artwork online and it is for sale, unbelievably low prices — Julie had to actually make him take more for a painting she wanted than he was asking because of the quality of his work.
Based on Julie’s experience, Kevin’s outlook is “everyone should be able to afford art for their home,” which is another way of saying money should never be a hurdle to happiness and appreciation for beauty.
Kevin has no idea I am writing this column about him and if he did something tells me his sense of humility would make him ask me not to. Tat’s why it will be a surprise, a nod of the head to a man who embodies many of the qualities I have been working so hard to develop such as compassion, a giving spirit, peace of heart and mind, and a willingness to go above and beyond for the betterment of my fellow man.
We have tentative plans to do some work together once July has passed and some of my other work-related and personal projects have either wrapped or are under way. We are going to go scout out areas to go help some folks who truly need it — even if it is a life choice which has led them to their present position.
Who knows, it may have been a choice that brought them to where they are but it could also be a sympathetic ear and heart that allows them to see making yet another decision could change the world.
In the end that’s all I want really, to leave this place better than I found it and I think Kevin feels this way though a great deal of what he does is driven by his faith — which is as it should be — reaching out to help those in need, leading by example. Today it seems this is a rare quality, the desire to help others with no recognition or prideful motivation. He doesn’t help because someone will do what I am doing now but because it is needed.
Our world is indeed in a greater need for love, compassion, and empathy more than in any other time the human race has ever seen in my opinion. There is little tolerance and much judgment along with an underlying current of anger which makes any exchange during this precarious time often heated and unbending.
What we need is more people willing to take a step away from their own lives and over-inflated sense of self importance to walk a mile in another man’s shoes, to feel his literal hunger and despair, a little empathy for a fellow traveler who is much like each of us, just trying to make their way as best they can.
The thing is, none of us are equipped to go through life alone. We need each other no matter how we try to fight against it and deny the fact without our fellow man we are lost. Just below faith is that need and sadly we do not do a very good job of being our brother’s keeper. In the end, no matter how much denial has allowed us to forget, that precept its truth is undeniable.
Kevin, my hat is off to you and I watch every day, learning a little something more, not because you talk about it but because you live it.
I encourage everyone to get on board and become a part of something bigger than themselves and ask that you all consider rejoining the human race where the finish line is never seen, rarely experienced, but always ongoing.
D. C. Moody is a staff writer for The Easley Progress, The Pickens Sentinel and Powdersville Post and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Views expressed in this column are those of the writer only and do not represent the newspaper’s opinion.