Why I Joined the Lions Club

Some friends with a Lions Club mascot
Some friends with a Lions Club mascot

… In spite of my misgivings

When I was invited to speak at the Dinner in the Dark event held at an illustrious, historical hotel in another area of my state about forty-five minutes away, I felt flattered.

“Yes, of course. I would love to talk about my mobility training!” 

“You will? Great! We are having a planning meeting with a bunch of Lions Club members. Can you join us this Tuesday at…?”

Huh? 

The invitation was casual but unexpected. Did speakers get involved in the planning of an event? Didn’t they just … speak? At the same time, it was nice to be included. I would learn the details of what went on behind the scenes to make events like this happen. 

So I accepted that, too. 

It was my first introduction to the Lions Club, an organization dedicated to serving the blind and making a difference in the community. 

I loved being part of that committee, which consisted of various members from Lions Club groups across the region. They were so cordial! Over a two- month period, I grew accustomed to the sounds of their voices and could pick out a few members by the grip of their handshake and the shapes of their bodies–but not by name. They always had to re-introduce themselves. 

Over a series of dinner meetings, I learned how the event married two great causes together – an opportunity for the sighted to experience what the blind or those with low vision go through and a major fundraiser to benefit a housing facility for leader dogs in Michigan. 

After some weeks, I was invited to join a local chapter of the Lions Club. I could think of several reasons not to join. 

1. Comfort zone. In groups, I’m rather quiet and hesitant to interact. I’m a listener rather than an initiator. This would definitely put me out of my comfort zone. 

2.  Transportation. I already had difficulty getting to where I had to get.Why add more stress and another burden to my load?

3. Finances.  I wasn’t at a place to take on any more financial commitment. My income was sporadic, depending entirely on book sales and speaking engagements and a strict, meager stipend I took from my future retirement to pay my bills with. 

4. Time. My time was already being divided and further divided into tiny morsels. I struggled with time management–family and writing time as it was. 

And yet … when I prayed, I felt God saying … 

1. Make a difference. Make their mission real to them if it’s not already. Let your sight (or lack thereof) be an ongoing reminder of what they stand for in the midst of all the other “club” goals they have to focus on. 

2. Share your story.  Start in groups that are pre-disposed to learning about vision loss.  Not only will you educate and share your testimony of faith, I will use these venues to provide for you. 

3.  Step into My plan. Trust Me. Didn’t I help you make the transition into your teaching career? You were fearful then, too. Liaise with this group. My plan is always best and will achieve far more than you can do on your own.  You’ll grow with the responsibilities and opportunities I place you in. It’ll give you a chance to impact others. 

4. Look at the service. They provide eye glasses to those who can’t afford them. They send the blind to camp. They even drive them there. They educate the community about the importance of eye exams. Aren’t all these issues something you care about? 

Lion'spg

I still wasn’t completely convinced. I lacked confidence, the ability to organize myself and I wasn’t exactly extroverted. Besides, I needed to stay focused on my career and develop my writing and speaking platforms. And the money issue…

I sat it out for awhile as I tried to make up my mind, waffling back and forth. But, then … I took that hesitant step of faith and joined the new chapter! 

I’m still feeling my way around the group. So far, I’ve been quiet but every once in awhile my personality briefly emerges. I’m self-conscious about arriving late and getting lost in the building–and am definitely still out of my comfort zone. Sometimes I’m afraid I can’t hear them well enough to respond. I’ve got my issues to overcome.

But I’m trusting God to bring me out of my shell and do what He says I can do–impact others! 

I represent one side to vision loss and the Lions Club, the other. Working together, we can fill in the gaps and “see” better. 

As I finish this post, I feel certain for the first time that I made the right choice. I would have never imagined I would go in this direction. But I feel at peace with my decision. 

Finding my comfort zone, the transport, the finances and the time issue can all be worked out. The opportunities are what God wants to put into my life. They are the life-changers for both parties. It fits in with God’s goal for me. 

So it’s time to own it. 

Get excited.

And sweep my cane forward in confidence. 

What do you know about the Lions Club? How have you interacted with them in your community? Share in the comments below. 

Why I Joined the Lions Club
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12 thoughts on “Why I Joined the Lions Club

  • August 17, 2015 at 5:11 pm
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    I love the way you throw yourself into difficult situations, Amy. So brave. I wish I could do the same. But it’s wonderful to know you have the assurance of a divine plan. I note that you take small steps at the beginning, which should be so easy for other to follow.

  • August 17, 2015 at 6:02 pm
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    Yes, very observant, Francene.
    I do take small steps at the start. And then, as you say, it’s not as difficult to take those follow up steps.
    Thank you for cheering me on!
    Amy

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:06 pm
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    Hi Amy,
    You encourage me and I encourage you. Especially re trust in God. We can fight it but His Way is the Only Way. That comfort zone becomes a girdle if not stretched every so often. I commend your spirit and wish you the best in your new adventures Kate xo

  • August 17, 2015 at 8:23 pm
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    This sounds awesome. I’m so glad you decided to try it out even though it wasn’t what you were expecting. And look how many cool things are coming from it!! Really exciting 🙂

  • August 17, 2015 at 11:57 pm
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    Hello Amy ….I am very interested to hear about your ‘Adventures’ . I’m am still grappling with technology and my new iPhone whereas you seem to have mastered the art.
    I have come across you on the RP Support site. As a fellow RP’er and reluctant pupil of the white cane trainer, I’m looking forward to reading or hearing your story “Mobility Matters”. I’ve yet to work out the best method of accessing and reading it on my phone. Still learning .
    I am also a Christian and my faith in Christ sustains me. You say you are not an extrovert but you are extrovert in declaring your faith! If not so in character.
    Looking forward to reading more of your writings. ….. … And in the words of St Paul “press on” Amy “….towards the goal”.

  • August 18, 2015 at 5:04 am
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    I have gone to a camp in northern Ontario that was sponsored by that organization. I got my guide dog with their help. They do great work. You’ll have to keep us updated on how being a part of it goes for you in future.

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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    Thank you, Kate!
    I think you’re right about the comfort zone and i’ll remember that. Yes, we shall encourage each other. I’m so blessed to have met you and count you as a big blessing in my life!
    Amy

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:10 pm
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    Thank you, Ashley.
    You are absolutely right.
    Thank you for rooting for and encouraging me in my new endeavor.
    Amy

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:18 pm
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    Hi Linda,
    I’m thrilled to meet you! Love that RP Site! Did you download Mobility Matters on your iPhone yet? I am working on an audio version at the moment. I can’t wait until I have the money to produce all of it and offer it as another alternative. I am one of the admins to another RP Site called The Christian RP Connection. . It’s a small group but nearly 100 members now. You may want to check it out. It’s an encouraging environment.
    Thank you for taking time to comment and encourage me!
    Amy

  • August 23, 2015 at 12:20 pm
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    Hi Kerry,
    I sure will keep you updated. I am so glad to hear such positive reports of what the Lions Club has done.
    I feel very blessed to be a part of it.
    Amy

  • August 23, 2015 at 10:00 pm
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    Hi Amy,

    I heard about the Lion’s Club before. I knew they provided glasses for people who couldn’t afford them. But I didn’t know assisting the blind was their main mission. As I read your blog, I could see where you would be a nice fit for them. And as your new role as lioness evolves, I’m sure your whisper will soon turn into a roar.

    Matt

  • August 30, 2015 at 2:22 pm
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    Matt,
    Yes, they do other things but that’s really their biggest mission. Thank you, Matt. Ha ha! Clever … my whisper will soon turn into a roar! Perfect line!
    Amy

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