Dear Helen & Stuart:
I want you both to know that since about 7:00pm Dallas/USA time last evening, I have been in between both “speechless” and “tears”, shaking my head with hand over mouth in complete and total disbelief. I want also for you both to know exactly how poignant, powerful and meaningful the beyond thoughtful gesture that was made to both my husband and myself last night was. Back up by understanding that over the last four or five years, “my process” has taken some of the MOST unfortunately darkest, strangest and lonliest places. Hmmm, wait, Stuart, did you happen to know this already? Lol. So, the search to find “me” was both tragic and beautiful, but yes, I certainly “found me”. And along with everything else that I’ve discovered about myself, I’ve also discovered that one of my purposes in this life is to reach out to any and all the broken up, lost and shattered people that happen to cross my path in their travels and metaphorically “wrap them in a big cozy blanket” of the knowledge that they are not at all alone in their brokenness. My heart literally aches when I see another human being who is lost, hurting, crying or in any type of physical or emotional pain. I want so badly to wave my magic wand and “VALIDATE” all who needed validation, and hug all those who need to be hugged.
There is this ridiculous place here in our town called “Life Enrichment Boot Camp” – like, four years and a hundred thousand or more dollars of therapy in FOUR days. People walk in ALL JACKED UP on a Wednesday night and leave a few days later feeling refreshed, renewed, healed and “free” from their personal and emotional baggage. They learn to forgive those who have hurt them, and, most importantly, learn to forgive THEMSELVES for simply being human. Okay, so this is the same boot camp that I was literally dragged into about four years ago, as a last resort, by the way, because even the FINEST of “facilities” this world has to offer a nut like me didn’t quite do the trick. Nope. It was here at this RIDICULOUS place that I found the beginning of myself. Meanwhile, four years later, I now work at this camp on a volunteer basis, whenever I can, and “give back” to the very same system that saved my own damn life. Every month that I go to work there I find myself and the constant state of growth that I am in perpetuated, and I’m not going to lie, being a part of a process that can literally change a human life is an honor.
Thank you God, thank you Jesus, thank you to each and every person and thing that ever hurt me … because now “I know” and I appreciate and I am so blessed to stand in that center with all the rest of the jacked up people that I used to be. With that being said, however, I want you to know that, for me, being at camp on those weeks is extremely hard on me. It takes everything I have to stand surrounded by a 100 or more people that often are only inches away from the same “Death’s Door” threshold that I was standing at when I walked into that boot camp. It drains the life out of me just about every time, because as I have already said, for whatever reason I, as a human being, and very much physically affected by other people’s pain. It is often overwhelming to the infinitieth degree to hear the stories, the tragedies and the traumas. Sometimes even nauseating. For me, usually by the time Saturday afternoon rolls around and all of the new-found joys and freedoms of the campers are ringing loud in the halls of the boot camp, I am SO beyond ready to just RUN out the doors of the facility, get in my car, speed home as fast as I can, take a long, hot bath, crawl into bed and literally HIDE underneath the covers until Sunday morning. That’s how much the whole thing wears me out, but NOPE, I would never change it and NOPE I will NEVER stop going there. For all the emotional toll that it takes on me, the ultimate reward for me in knowing that I’ve helped change a life is SO beyond worth every tear I secretly shed for these people.
Now then, let’s back up to yesterday, and the irony beyond the package that my husband found at our doorstep last night when he got home. You see, this particular boot camp was EXTREMELY tough this time, and on my way home yesterday afternoon, all I can remember was turning on the radio and starting to cry, because, well, I just don’t know why actually. I remember driving down the road and thinking to myself, “Gosh, is any of this really worth it? Will any of these people ever remember me? Will ANY of the people that I’ve reached out to in my lifetime think of me one day and smile? Is anything that I am trying to accomplish here really going to matter, and will I have truly made a positive impression on a single human being’s life before I leave here?” Yes, this indeed is the conversation I was having with myself when I was on the way home from boot camp. So, I got home from camp around 4 yesterday, and the plan was “supposed to be” that I take a bath and a small nap so that when Zack got home at 7 we could maybe catch a movie and a bite. Not to be! Once Zack called at 6 to say he was headed home, I told him that I’d had a very rough camp this time, that I was physically and emotionally drained, and that all I wanted was to stay in bed. In fact, I couldn’t even manage an appetite, so I asked if he minded to pick himself up something to eat for dinner. He patiently agreed, and an hour later walked into our bedroom (where I was STILL laying on the bed in the same clothes I wore to camp, because, again, I was literally too smashed to move or even take that much-awaited bath) and greeted me with the most beautiful arrangement of flowers, a big kiss, a hug, and a question. “Hey honey, did you know there is a huge package for you sitting at the front door?” “What do you mean? What package? From where?” “Um, I don’t know, my hands were full. Let me go get it.” (FYI, I had come in through the garage earlier, and obviously had no idea there was a package at the front.) A minute later he walks back into the room with this GINORMOUS package in his arms, “Um, honey, have you been shopping on the internet? This is from Ireland? Silver Hill Foods? Do you have any idea?” I sat up in the bed and my jaw hit the ground! WHAT THE HELL? I couldn’t speak. Literally, I couldn’t speak and my jaw was stuck on the floor with BOTH my hands covering my mouth as I stood there physically stunned and immobile. My husband kept saying, “What is this? What? What? What’s in these boxes? Catherine, say something, what am I missing here?”
OMG. REALLY? WHAT THE HELL? REALLY? Stuart Steele you have no idea on this earth what you have done! First of all, and by the way, I WAS JUST KIDDING WITH THAT POST! Really? You did this for me? For real? I WAS JUST KIDDING MAN! OMG. Stuart and Helen, please know that with the exception of my husband and my children, no one has ever “done or given” to me in such a way as this. NEVER EVER EVER! Not in this way. And of all things in my life that I hold dearest? Yes, I am truly the girl who hid underneath a comforter (never as nice as these though) for so many years that I cannot even tell you. It used to be the only place I felt safe – “underneath a comforter”. I have always loved and craved that cozy, yummy envelopment, and NO WAY I will ever understand why you did this for me.
I am never ever EVER going to forget this Stuart, and I will never ever EVER be able to properly put into words my gratitude. My husband even got a little teary-eyed, by the way. No one has ever done anything like this for him either! “You see, honey, you HAVE made some positive impressions on people, just like I’m always trying to tell you!” These gifts you have given me and my family are more valuable and priceless than even a bag full of gold, and we will treasure these for as long as we are alive on this earth. It’s not just “the blankets”, it’s the thought. Someone thought of ME this time! SOMEONE THOUGHT OF ME! I love you both dearly and thank you, thank you, thank you so much! We cannot wait for the day that either we are all in Ireland or you are all here in the States. Our humble home will always be yours when you are near Dallas here you will be treated like royalty!
~ With Much Love And Appreciation From The Williamsons!