2017 was NOT my year. I am overly optimistic so it actually goes against my inner being to admit that. I did not realize how heavily life affected me until New Years Eve. The tears fell as I watched a Law & Order SVU marathon. It was finally over…FINALLY. OVER…as though one day magically wiped the slate clean for a fresh start.
Kindness kept me going. Kindness helped me hold on. Kindness gave me hope.
My children attend Saint Andrew the Apostle School. The priest there told us that as long as Jimmie was in our care, we had done our part. As long as Jimmie was in our care, he could attend St. Andrew for free forever. I wish I knew names as well as I know faces, but one principal (or maybe she is a counselor) showed up on my doorstep with king cake, clothes, and goodies for the children. Mrs. Juno (a pre-K 4 teacher) greets my family with harm hugs and lots of love every time we see her – without fail. When Jimmie came back, she still had all of his school supplies including his chair cover with his name embroidered on it. She never gave up hope. The school said he could come back effective immediately. They did not miss a beat. At Christmas, they asked my husband to pull around to the front office because they had some toys. They proceeded to fill his car with four outside garbage bags full of toys. People like Ms. Juno and so many others there – Ms. Clasen, Ms. Lori, the counselor, the assistant principal, the priest…Places like St. Andrew…They are the reason I hold on.
I teach at Hahnville High School. One of my favorite teachers owes me nothing. I already owe her more than I can ever repay for what she has done to help me succeed in St. Charles Parish. I would give her name but she knows who she is, and I am not sure she would want me to name her. Her sister gave birth to still born, Ainsley, three days before Christmas, and they chose to “turn their grief into kindness” every year in Ainsley’s name.
This year they chose my family. Her behavior is not uncommon for me there. When I lost my sister, I received countless hugs, warm wishes, daily check-ins, and tokens of love. The school raised a generous amount of money to help my family and my other sister’s family with the added expenses around the holidays and going forward. My co-teacher gifted me a three-day, two-night getaway. My students and athletes gave hugs, cards, and gifts from their hearts. And, of course, my giant slayer shirt…Those teachers and students…That school…They are the reason I hold on.
My cousin’s wife, Paula Bland, is a hair guru, and she decided take me along on her journey as an ambassador for her amazing hair care line the Love of People. Last week, we attended an art gallery opening where the owner, owner’s family, atmosphere, artists, and, of course, artwork were nothing less than inspiring.
The wealth of information Paula has selflessly taught me along with the world into which she has invited me has given me a true sense of belonging, love and … HOPE.
I partnered with three amazing companies this year:
- MeBookz offers children a personalized journey that involves them in every aspect of stories.
- Tona Haywood at Called to Edify Boutique provides quality Christian apparel for men, women, and children of all ages.
- Jerrica Thomas runs both a blog and a company that exemplify excellence.
These companies, though, were run by even more amazing people. These people helped me hold on.
One best friend hosted a girls night where we laughed until we cried. The other accepted my children as her own.
My sister…My mom…My dad..My husband…My husband’s family…all extended random acts of unsolicited, unconditional kindness…
And hope helped me to hold on.
Not sure where I heard it, but someone told me long ago what hope really means, and the meaning remains forever ingrained in the recesses of my heart: HOPE – Hold On Pain Ends.
Ordinary people living their ordinary lives showed me extraordinary kindness. Ordinary people gave me extraordinary hope. Ordinary people helped me to hold on.
What are some things that give you hope?
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