We tend to write uplifting and inspiring blog posts week after week. These posts are, for the most part, how we feel about what we’re doing. Its true… we ARE hopeful for the future. We do wholeheartedly believe in the goodness of people in our city and in this organization’s ability to join those people in a united effort towards (one day) eliminating poverty. At the very least.. we believe poverty reduction is a goal that is attainable for us and that it is something we WILL achieve. BUT.. there is an aspect of what we’re doing that we haven’t really spoken to.
Beneath all of that optimism is the fact that this work, as rewarding as it is, hurts. In fact, it can be (and often is) gut-wrenching. And this past week has been no exception.
We cry a lot. And I would like to tell you why.
Firstly let me say that it is an absolute privilege to be invited into the lives of those who reach out to us.. and that I feel honored to be a part of their journey. To be trusted and relied upon to share their stories and help guide them through absolute darkness means so much to me. I feel obligated to be completely honest and say that I, quite literally, feel their pain. I feel urged to share that I think about them often. That I equate them to my own family and friends. That I cry for them.
That I cry a lot.
You see this is what we don’t talk about very often… but what I so desperately need the world to know! This is not a job for me. This is real. The stories I hear, the trauma I witness, and the realities I am exposed to… they affect me. AND THEY SHOULD. I am not the least bit ashamed to confess that there are many days in which I feel overcome by the amount of hurt in my heart. But I think that’s okay. I think if I ever come face to face with human desperation and suffering in the way that I have been and feel nothing… well then I will no longer be the right girl for the job! Poverty is unacceptable… and it should never feel right for us, as human beings, to see someone going hungry or living without adequate shelter. Sleepless nights, worry, concern, tears— these are the fuel for passion. And passion is the fuel for change.
I never… ever.. want to lose my passion for what I’m doing.
On that note I want to express genuine thanks to all of those who have shared a piece of their lives with us. Following each interaction I am, in some way, changed. Because of their stories, biases and judgments have faded allowing empathy and compassion to take their place. And I am truly grateful.
If you take just one thing from this blog post let it be this. Deep, debilitating poverty is all around us. It is right here… it is real and it is affecting the lives of people just like you and I. I’m begging you to take those words in.. and to take them seriously. My husband delivered a box of freezer meals to a kind-hearted and cheerful man this week. That man lives every day going without. He doesn’t have running water or sufficient heat in the winter. Food insecurity, days without water and threat of the cold. That is his reality… yet he calls me to joke, laugh, ask me about my children and thank me for my kindness. He doesn’t complain. He is dishearteningly grateful for his bag of onions and can of kidney beans.
No. No. No. A MILLION times… NO! We can do better than this.
People in our community need US. They need all of US.
We’ve been asked in a few interviews lately what the future holds for Linking Lives. Of all the questions—this is the one I find the most difficult to answer… perhaps because my vision is so simple.
If we’re able to pave the way for a community movement in which we collectively decide that we will no longer tolerate poverty in our area… and we will no longer watch people suffering and going without— then I will have obtained my goals for the organization.
Two crazy women with a philanthropic nature can’t make this happen alone. PLEASE join us and refuse to turn a blind eye to poverty in our community. Consider making a donation. Your donation is more than a dollar amount. It is a person fed, a child’s needs met and one less human being that has to go without.
“I believe empathy is the most essential quality of civilization” -Robert Ebert
To donate please do so via our gofund me page listed below or by etransfer at firstname.lastname@example.org