HOPE begins with Holding On

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.

Sometimes kindness comes in the most unexpected places and offers HOPE you never saw coming

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.

Baby Ainsley inspired one family to sponsor a random act of kindness for other families once a year

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.

Grand Opening of Roux Maison in the Art District in New Orleans, LA
My “super dope fly DJ cousin of” mine…direct quote from DJ Chris Stylez

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.

Sometimes HOPE comes in the most unexpected forms from the most unexpected places.

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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Kindness may not be purchased.  It may not be re-payed - only payed forward.  It is what is it is.  Last year, kindness was a four letter word - spelled h-o-p-e.

30 thoughts on “HOPE begins with Holding On

  1. Love this! I am so glad that the Lord showed kindness toward you through the acts of other people. Continue sharing your journey with others through your writing because it is very encouraging.😊

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very brave and I admire you for your courage and strength. Although I have not gone through what you have, I too have and am going through my roller coaster journey. Along the way I had to leave my marriage, was separated from my children – the cause of my mental break down – but then although I came to Aussie in order to be reunited with them, now I am living an isolated life as they really do not understand what I have gone through because of them sadly. My ex their father has a great influence on them as he holds all the money in his hands including even my hard work and savings and assets I got from my family!
    I am going through financial difficulties and, “It’s so wonderful to hear how people have extended their hand and kindness and is helping you so much. Indeed you are lucky and blessed” I believe this is a message of, “Hope” as right now I am going through a difficult time, to have “Hope” that there are good people out there who reach out to those in trouble and in need!
    Brittany thank you so much for the article – it has also given me “Hope” that I will have some relief from somewhere and the world is not always unkind but kind too. Much Love and Light from me and God Bless ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so glad I could give you some hope. Just reading your story now, all I could think was, “How can one person endure so much heartache?” Life can definitely be harsh, and people like myself do not always know what to say to make it better or how to say it. But their kindness, the ears that they lend, the shoulders they make available, the love they show…it all speaks volumes. May life smile on you in 2018!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You see my mother always told, that when we tell our story, to another and when they tell their own story, it always seem they have gone through worse!
        My ex was a very violent tempered man. After going through 15 years of it when I left with my two sons then 13 and 9 years, when I had gone out he took them away and did not allow me to see them. My 9 year old was my baby and it broke my heart not seeing him. Ultimately I got them back after three months or so, but my 9 year old had become mature and stiff going through that ordeal. They were with me until they were ready to join their dad here in Aussie. Younger one was 15 and half he wanted to go in 1995 and the elder on was 21 when he left in 1996. My mother was very ill and I could not go with them, its only after she passed away in 1997 that I was free to leave. When I applied for my holiday visa there was a problem and it was not given. By that time I had gone through so much stress and trauma long term, I had the break down!
        It was only in year 2000 after almost 5 years, that I was able to go to see my sons agai. After I came back in 2001 I had to wait until 2008 to come again and it was only in 2009 I finally migrated. So all in all I was separated from them for 13 long years. It took a toll on me being depressed until I came here I could not become well. This is a silent story as I cannot write in public in my own blog because of my children. I love them, they love me, But they cannot really understand what depression is and what I have gone through without them!
        There are many who go through severe stress and trauma silently, this is why I started to write to help in some way after I recovered. My psychiatrist encouraged me to write in order for others to know that there is, “Hope” in recovering after going through such a long term depression. I hope at least one person who read this, will know that there are so many going through depression and to hold on and there is HOPE at the end of the tunnel ❤
        Brittany Thank you for letting me write here. God Bless ❤

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Great post. May 2018 is your year!! You deserve it. 🙂 Hope is about believing in your life, your worth, your purpose, your well-being. Hope is about having faith and being optimistic and shaping your life around that optimism. Positive thinking can go a long way. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope this year will be better for you. It’s amazing what people can and will do that will give you hope unexpectedly. As more people read blogs like yours, they will understand how small efforts can grow exponentially. You give me hope. 😊

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Reading your story, part of me wants to weep, and another part of me wants to rejoice. I’m not sure whether one or the other is more appropriate here, so I will just be thankful with you that God has sent you these dear people to help you hang on. Also, I pray that these memories of God’s grace through these special people will overpower the urge to dwell on the hard times, and that, most of all, you will continually dwell in the strong arms of your Savior who loves you so lavishly.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think I have a permanent residence hidden in God’s arms. I’ve learned that I’m comfortable there and He will literally have to just dump me out at some point in time, but He also places people…tangible people to offer words and deeds of love to touch my life along the way!

      Liked by 1 person

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