Thursday, December 10, 2009

Where There's Hope

We are a spoiled, selfish lot, most of us. We do what we want, go where we please, get those things that please us. And sometimes things just don’t go the way we’d planned. And we whine and complain. And we lose it.

Aww… had a bad day? Really? Did you? Are you sure it was all that bad? Sometimes, I want to shake people, seriously shake them – and ask those questions. And sometimes, the person I most want to shake is me.

I’m reminded of that today after reading this beautiful post by MaggieDammit (she of Okay.Fine.Dammit and founder of Violence UnSilenced.) She wrote this post in cooperation with Blog Nosh Magazine as they share stories of hope this holiday season in support of the Tide Loads of Hope program, a mobile laundromat offering laundry services to families affected by disasters.

Life can be incrediby hard and everyone has had their share of hard knocks. Sometimes, the knocks are harder and more plentiful than others. Some people get more than their share of them.

Yet some people have a sense of resiliency that boggles the mind, while others fold like a house of cards. At this time of year, I get introduced to people who fit this category, the ones who don’t fall completely apart, or, if they do, they pull it back together. They keep right on going.

I get to know them second-hand through the social workers that try to help them and their families and I get to introduce them to the people I work with and encourage them to help, too, as part of our holiday charity program.

One story struck me particularly hard this year. It’s a single mom who is raising four kids, the youngest of whom has a serious heart condition. Add to this that a few years ago the mother was shot during a crime and is still really recuperating herself.

She doesn’t say all that in the little note we get describing her family and how we might help. (I always get more info out of the caseworkers.) But she does say this: “We have been staying with friends because I lost my home and while I am so grateful to them we dream of a time that we can have a place to call our own. I have hope and mainly because of people like you who are our Holiday Angels.”

She has hope. Hope. And the part of that that gets me the most? We represent that hope to her. Us. How awesome a responsibility is that? She just wants her kids to have a nice holiday with a few toys and some needed clothing. She isn’t asking for much.

While I can’t get her into her own home, I think we can get her a few steps closer by providing some extra goods and services for her, maybe giving her the chance to sock a little money away toward having her own home again. That's my hope for her.

Because damn – if she can hope, who am I not to?


Leah@storybookranch said...

So true!! Sometime's it's just about changing our perspective to realize how blessed we really are.

Maggie, Dammit said...

Such a sad story, and yet knowing she has you made me feel joyful. See? Hope.

Thank you. :)


Vicki said...

Amen and amen. Wouldn't it be neat if you be a Ty Pennington and get Home Depot or Lowes or someone to get them a house. Or an apartment or something. I'm sure those stores don't work with small fish though. Your office is so generous and I love reading about your efforts each Christmas season.

Kate said...

"Holiday Angel" suits you so much better that just "elf". Not that there's anything wrong with elves, I just think Holiday Angel is a more appropriate decription. You truly are a good person!

Jennifer, Playgroups Are No Place For Children said...

That is an awesome responsibility, to be another person's hope. Thank God she hasn't lost that hope.

NV said...

Leah -- That's absolutely right! Makes me feel very blessed.

Maggie -- Yep. Your fault. :-)

Vicki -- Now THAT would be awesome. I would LOVE something like that! Thanks. I am so lucky to work with such a truly generous bunch of folks.

Kate -- Aw. That's absolutely sweet. Thanks! I'm perfectly content though being an elf. :-)

Jennifer -- Yes, it sure is. I hope we can all live up to it this year!

Anonymous said...