But seriously, I owe a tremendous debt that could never be repaid. I reached out for help, and the overwhelming generosity of the people that I am privileged enough to call my friends has humbled me greatly. The outpouring of loving support through words, job offers, places to stay, and obviously cash donations brought me to tears on more than one occasion.
I asked for a miracle and the miracle was you.
To briefly recap, we spent a month in Hemet, California, trying to find jobs to keep our adventure going. All signs had pointed to this location as being the most logical, in terms of proximity to civilization, affordability, weather, amenities. Everything about our stay was perfect, except for the fact that literally no one was hiring. I had heard things about the job market being tough for the last decade, but it had never affected me in Texas, because the economy of the Lone Star State was really strong, and I was in an industry with high turnover (which means getting hired is super easy.) California is a different animal entirely, and the higher wages for menial labor means that people are more selective in their hiring and turnover is relatively low. When you pay people a living wage, it's a job they'll want to keep for as long as they can. We reached a point where we had to choose between paying rent for a little while longer, hoping that one of the 32 jobs for which I had applied would call me back for an interview, or giving up on California and trying to make it back to Texas. Paying rent again would have meant no money for food, so that was one of those really interesting exercises in Faith.
I'm reminded of a story that I heard once in church. There was a flood, and a good Christian man found his house filling with water. As the water made the road impassible for his vehicle, a neighbor came by in a big four-wheel drive truck. "Get in, the flood is getting worse," the neighbor shouted. The man replied, "God is going to save me!" And he retreated to the upstairs of the house. As the water rose to his second floor window, a rescue worker came by in a boat. "Get in, the water is going to continue to rise," called the rescue worker. The man shouted back, "God is going to save me!" and climbed up to the roof. As the water encroached upon the edges of the roof, a helicopter came with a lowered rope. The rescue worker called to the man through a bullhorn, "Climb up! This is our last flight out!" The man yelled back, "God is going to save me!" With a shrug, the rescue worker in the helicopter departed, and the water still rose. The man o the roof drowned and went to Heaven. As he stood before the Throne of God, he asked, "Why hadn't I been saved? Why was I left to die?" God answered him, "I sent a truck, a boat, and a helicopter. What else did you want me to do?"
As I was in Hemet, stressing about what to do, the idea of asking for help kept coming up. I am loathe to request assistance in ANY circumstance, preferring to suffer along in silence, often feeling like whatever struggle I'm going through is deserved. Consequences are the result of actions that we take, decisions that we make, and choices that we select. Everything that happens is for a reason! I'm not suggesting that everything is predetermined; rather, things are post-determined, in the sense that the reason something happened is often due to the actions, decisions, or choices that we make. There are ripples that we see, and many that we don't, that influence our world and the world of those around us. Everything is interconnected, and the ripples of the choices of other folks influence me and my ripples too. When I came to this realization, I knew that the reason I kept thinking of asking for help was to learn that it is OK to ask, and that sometimes when you ask, you will get more than you need. I didn't realize how alone I had been feeling, fighting this fight with only my girls in tow. Our community rose up to support us, and now I know that I'm truly Never Alone, and we are all in this thing together.
So I extend to you all my heartfelt thanks for giving me back my life, and showing me how deep my roots actually go. Some of you I speak with regularly, others I haven't interacted with individually in a long time. But know this: I love you, you are part of my community, and if you ever need me, I will be there for you.
I am You.
You are Me.
We are One.