Join the Club, Get ‘Gloriously Ruined’

I am working diligently on being “gloriously ruined.” 

I want to wake up one morning and have my life
turned upside down – ruined from top to bottom,
inside and out.


I firmly believe that’s when I’ll start truly making a difference through giving back.

I was introduced to the phrase, “gloriously ruined,” when reading “Dangerous Surrender” by Kay Warren. She is an advocate for women and children affected by HIV/AIDS, and she was ruined when she visited Africa, the frontline of the AIDS epidemic.

Here is an excerpt from her book:

“If very little in my life had prepared me for what I experienced in Africa, nothing had prepared me to try to pick up my life again in affluent Orange County, California. Everything looked different; everyone seemed strange. I looked at my possessions differently. Suddenly a full refrigerator was an insult. The crowded grocery store shelves were excessive. The displays of fashion at the mall were trivial. Television was disgusting and moronic. Politics made me sick. Church was superficial. I was a mess.”

She went on to write:

“I’m simply not the same person…I’ve been shaped by these new experiences, and I will never be the same. Moreover, I don’t want to be the same. I can’t have seen what I’ve seen, met the people I’ve met, experienced what I’ve experienced, only to turn away and return to life as usual. I now look at life through a different set of lenses.”


In those two paragraphs, Mrs. Warren provided me a metaphorical slap to the face.

A few pages later, she talked about “joining the ranks of the ruined.” As she leads small groups interested in giving back, she says that she asks each person to become members of the “Seriously Disturbed, Gloriously Ruined Club.”

When these groups of people finally get it, she wrote, “they are no longer content to live with the focus of their lives being on their world – themselves, their problems, their family, their career. Their eyes have been opened to new realities. They have seen how the suffering world lives, and it is not real. They cannot ignore the suffering or pretend it doesn’t exist. They are compelled to do something about it.”


Personally, I’m still searching for that “ruined” moment.

As I drive down the streets near the homeless shelter, I get a small taste. As I talk to my little brother about his family’s struggles, I can see glimpses of getting ruined.

But I’ve never prayed with a homeless woman in Africa dying from AIDS, and I’ve never held the hand of a woman who was infected with HIV because her husband contracted the virus from his mistress and brought the disease home.

Kay Warren has. These two women helped ruin her.

The point of this blog post is not to push Mrs. Warren’s book (even though it is an excellent and motivational read), I’m delivering a call to action:

I am asking you to join the “Seriously Disturbed, Gloriously Ruined Club.”

Here is your chance (you knew I had one, didn’t you?):

The Tarrant County Homeless Coalition is looking for 500 volunteers to help conduct a count and brief survey of unsheltered homeless people living in the Tarrant and Parker County area.

It is a two- to three-hour time commitment, starting at 8 p.m. on January 29th.

Volunteers will be broken up into groups of three or four, trained by the Coalition, and escorted by a police officer.

In the e-mail I received about the volunteer opportunity, it said: “This is truly an eye-opening experience…”

This could be my chance – and YOUR chance – to be “gloriously ruined.”

Through my company, it’s my goal to put together 25 teams of four people.

If you are interested in joining one of the teams, please let me know and I will forward your name and contact information on to the proper people. Share this blog with others. Invite your friends, your family members, your neighbors, and your co-workers.

If you need more information, please visit Tarrant County Homeless Coalition’s web site by clicking here.

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