The ones who know me best, know that I am independent and full of pride. If you want to do something for me. You just have to do it because I rarely can swallow my pride to ask.
Day after day, they washed clothes, salvaged belongings, helped load and unload, because they are selfless.
Several of my friends asked about starting a go fund me to help us get back on our feet. My reply, let me think about it.
I then receive a message, Please don't be mad. She said. I did it anyway, because I knew what your answer would be.
My heart sank. I was embarrassed. I lost all pride. What would people think? I have always worked hard. I have been successful, I have failed, and I have struggled, but we have never done without.
I love helping people. All my life I have tried to give when I was able and sometimes when I was not. My children and I took up a hat and globe collection at Christmas and handed them out in gift bags to needy families. We didn't expect anything in return. The next day I received a fruit plate and two mismatched pillow cases from two of the elderly women. I cried. It was the sweetest most heartfelt gift I have ever received.
I started a back to school program a few summers ago. I collected uniforms and school supplies for needy children. The day of delivery was always the most exciting day! We would go to each house and hand out all the new things. I always noticed that the parents were quiet. They didn't say much. They didn't look at the things we worked so hard to provide. I often wondered why wouldn't they be happy? Why aren't they ecstatic? We did this to relieve stress and they look so sad.
I now know why. Pride. They weren't ungrateful. They wanted to be able to provide it and for each family a different circumstances caused them not to be able too. They were embarrassed. They didn't know what to say.
I have been in their shoes now. I have said no thank you. I've been forced to take it anyway.. I was awkward. I looked down. I think I said thank you? Did I say thank you? Was I rude? Did I seem ungrateful?
I want to say now that I am very grateful. I hope that I said thank you. I hope I didn't seem rude. I was holding back tears and I was swallowing my pride.. Choking on it actually.
To anyone who has given us anything, money, time, words of encouragement, prayers, help with clean up, drinks and ice, even a kind smile from a stranger. Know this, I am thankful. I am grateful. I appreciate it and I will remember it as long as I live. I only hope that I will be able to pay it forward to each and every one of you some day.
I know this is a long post and I tend to ramble, but think about things like this before you judge. I have went in Walmart and Gas stations this past week covered in smut. I'm sure I smelled. Most days my face was tear stained. I felt the looks and stares. I know people were thinking, why didn't she shower before she come in here!
I didn't because I was staying an hour away most nights. A few nights I had to call friends and ask for a shower or a bed because I was too tired to drive to the camp.
I learned a valuable lesson. Never judge a book by its cover. You never know what someone is dealing with. I was broken, tired, defeated... I needed kindness, not judge mental looks. Open your eyes and your heart and really see people. Don't judge. You never know, in the blink of an eye, or in my case a trip to town, can change your life and circumstances forever.