I had heard of this community’s generosity last year at a doctor’s appointment. The nurse and I were talking and she said this community raised a hefty sum of money for a woman who needed a specialized wheelchair. No one is wealthy, that’s just what they do here, she added.
This past Friday, Richard and I attended a dinner and auction for a local gentleman who has terminal Cancer. Neither he, nor I, knew this man. I guess because my life is so limited to the insides of these four walls, I saw everything through the eyes of wonder. I could feel the powerful energy in the room. It was a mix of warmth, respect, compassion, and the highest, most sincere, form of love…and the divine.
After the dinner, a couple folks spoke of this man who was seated at the back of the room in his wheelchair. As they began to speak, their eyes teared up, as did most. (I’m getting tears again just writing this!) The gentleman in the wheelchair was honored with a plaque for having volunteered and served this community. Thunderous applause and cheers erupted throughout the room, but he is loved for who he is and simply because he is a part of the community.
The auctioneer then took over and said that oftentimes with a diagnosis such as Cancer, the first thing that happens is you go broke. In his earnest and forthright manner he suggested we do what we always do to help one of our own. He said he’s seen this happen times before, where there’s a need, the community responds. Much like a rock tossed into a pond, the reach goes farther and farther out into the community.
Friends, family, and members of the community had all donated special items. There were some store bought treasures, a lot of gift cards, but most were heart- and hand-made. Those gifted with the talent of sewing made beautiful, one-of-a-kind quilts, wall hangings, and table runners. Artists donated sketches, prints, and paintings. The talented bakers of the community made pies, cakes, scones, and cinnamon rolls.
[The child you see in this photo is an auction helper, further up the aisle, you’ll see a teenager carrying a pie. That ONE pie sold for over $100! We were really tempted to buy some cinnamon rolls from a wonderful baker, but the prices shot up out of our price range fast!]
I happened to sit next to a woman who has (or had been) the gentleman’s neighbor. She spared no expense in her bidding, it was incredible. The gentleman had written a book and some were being auctioned off, she bought one for well over a hundred dollars. Get this…she already has the book he signed and gave to her shortly after it was published!
[The mirror you see in this photo was made by the gentleman pictured in it. I’m really happy this photo turned out. He takes vintage circular cut barn wood, stains it, embellishes it with vintage tack he’s restored, and makes these remarkably beautiful one-of-a-kind frames for pictures or mirrors. This one needed two adults to display it, another hand-made treasure to last generations.]
I didn’t want to leave but with it was loud! A lot of stimuli all at once, people talking while the auction is going on, babies crying, lots of movement. The trip back home was pretty quiet, my brain was so fried, but I was happy, inspired, touched, and peaceful.
Part of my tears were/are for the fact I needed a fundraiser to help me keep my home years ago. It took everything I had to ask friends and family, I wrote to every non-profit organization in the U.S. that I could think of, I also wrote every Brain Injury Association in the U.S. I wrote Oprah, I wrote Dr. Phil, even President Obama. Nothing.
I clearly did not have the support this man has. How does one do that? To hear of another person’s struggle or suffering and do nothing but find creative ways to justify apathy and inactivity, or, as was most often the case, not respond at all? I don’t want to be like that.
To do that would be to miss out on a truly remarkable piece of life…