Maybe it’s because I haven’t been to a revival meeting in many years, but this week seemed defined by a challenge to my faith. The tenants of my religious beliefs weren’t on point, but my imagination, my capacity to be wholly convinced of a better future and, more specifically, to believe that I can influence such a future was front and center.
On Wednesday morning, a bright, picture-perfect sunny South Carolina morning, I was among the people who gathered at 145 W. Carolina Avenue. We were there to cheer the official opening of the Duke-Energy Center for Innovation. Ben Chastain, (Coker College Class of 2010) the Center’s new director, emceed the event, and neighbors and officials and a wide variety of collaborating partners applauded the achievement.
Hartsville is one of only three cities in the state to establish one of these new technology business incubators. Eventually, there will be five. Many individuals and groups have invested time and resources to make it happen. They believe, as I do, that incubating technology-based businesses represents an extraordinary opportunity to develop life-enhancing products and services and create much-needed jobs in our region. But as I stood in the hot sun and listened to the speakers and looked beyond them into the gleaming incubator store-front window, my faith was challenged.
This was not just an opening. It was a test. The incubator will not run itself. It won’t fill itself with innovative entrepreneurs, and it won’t magically turn those entrepreneurs’ hopes into profitable products. This achievement — the technology incubator — is the result of community partners looking beyond nuanced individual differences to a gleaming future that does not yet exist, but which they hope one day to see. Can we sustain that promise? Can we ignore distractions, hold to this faith that gave us the confidence to celebrate, and work together with wholesome, loving resolve to create the reality we desire? Can I help? Do I have what it takes?
Faith, hope and love.
Three irresistible ingredients that change everything.
Of the cookies that I know how to make, the ones that draw eaters together and to the plate most effectively are chocolate chip.
Come and get ’em!