There’s a reason why I really love Charidy. Ok, there are many reasons – the people are great, the work is fun, but the most important reason why I love Charidy’s is because of this: Charidy exists to help others.
There are two reasons why this resonates with me:
1. The first reason is very simple: I was raised by parents who believed the best in others and who taught me the importance of rolling up my sleeves and helping in times of crisis.
2. The second reason is waaaaaaaaaay more complicated: There was a time in my life when I was in trouble. Like serious trouble. The kind of trouble that you can’t survive in one piece unless people come to help you hold it all together. My kids and I had no where to live. We had no money. Summer was ending, and cold winds were whipping around us, stirring me into a frenzy while I tried to figure out where we would sleep, where we would go.
And we got lucky: Friends came to the rescue and we never had to sleep outside.
Even now that the kids and I share a cozy caravan, it still isn’t always easy.
Last year, I wrote about it on Kveller.com:
“Yes, while I am doing my best to rock it solo since my ex and I split almost two years ago, living half the week with my kids in a tiny house next to rolling fields and a ginormous sky, where I negotiate paying rent and utilities with a landlord who doesn’t speak English, where I can pay my internet bill and make money transfers over the phone, where I have finally started to create a life that kind of sort of makes sense, I still can’t get from point A to point B–something so freaking basic–without help.”
I was really nervous about putting this in writing and publishing it because it’s scary to be vulnerable and admit that, no, actually, you don’t have it covered.
But I did. And something wonderful happened. Help comes to those who ask.
A woman I didn’t know IRL added me on Facebook. She lives close-by, and she told me she’d be happy to pick me up and drop us off.
Another woman sent a letter to Kveller with money so that I would be able to take a taxi with my kids if we had to.
And another woman gave money to a friend of mine to pass on to me with this note.
These random acts of kindness have done two important things for me:
1. They helped. Like, in the literal sense: The physical support from the woman who offered to drive my children and me made it possible to get from point A to point B on long days, on rainy days. And the money? The money gave me the breathing space where I wouldn’t have to debate whether or not to buy new socks and slippers or winter coats for the kids.
2. The experience of needing help could have been humiliating — but instead, because of the kindness of others who stepped up and were there without being asked, it was humbling: And until I have the means to give back in a big way, I feel like the work I’m doing at Charidy is an important step in the right direction.
I’m grateful this happened — all of this, even the nights when we ate Ramen Noodles AGAIN. Because I learned that it’s always darkest before the dawn.
** Photo by Guy Prives **