Thursday, November 8, 2007

Campaign 93 update

Photo from University of Va dorm group

Words - I have to use words to describe what has happened with this campaign?

That is going to be very difficult. Let me give it a try and know that I am wishing that I could write in a way that you could FEEL instead of reading it.

I decided to take an enormous risk and put this hope of mine out there. I am really not much of a risk taker when it comes to rolling the dice and being disappointed. I am a "sure thing" kind of gal. Risk the $10 in my hand for a chance at $100? No thanks, I will take the money and run. I HATE disappointment. I know - I am working on it.

But this project was for a family I care about deeply - a way to honor the memory of a woman that touched me in so many deep and lasting ways. And a way to make the day(s) of a birthday girl who has seen more pain in the last few years than I can imagine and she is still standing - and smiling - at 93. I would be face down in a puddle of my own tears and feeling oh so sorry for myself. Not Elizabeth. And her daughter was like her. And her granddaughter - even more so. They are amazing women. For them? I will put my fear of disappointments on the line and roll the huge pair of universal dice.

What happened next is a Lifetime movie. It is a feel good Christmas movie that is a guilty pleasure that you watch over and over when nobody is looking because it feels so wonderful when the ending comes and all works out better than anyone could have expected. The holiday miracle of hope and kindness that ends with the musical score swelling.

At the end of the first day, I had 6 safe, easy friends say YES! as I knew they would. I realized though that to truly make this thing work in the scale I needed, I could not keep to safe and easy friends. I had to appeal to people that might say no, people who might ignore my emails because they had not heard from me in a while. I had to take a bigger chance. CRAP!

So I opened my address book and looked the list over again. Who could I ask? And then I just asked - people that I did not have that kind of relationship with - people I did not know that well. And then - when I took that chance with people that I did not know that well - IT HAPPENED.

It started taking off like a virus - being sent from computer to computer. From friend to friend - coworker to coworker - daughter to mother and husband to wife. The people who needed to get this to make it truly work - they got it.

And the emails starting coming to me.

Stories of grandmothers and mothers that were like Elizabeth and taught their family how to live and love. Stories of loss of the person that you love most. Stories of friends helping friends. Stories of hope and kindness and restored faith in this turbulent world. Stories of simple true love and willingness to share that love with a stranger. All of the stories had a person that was being honored in the card that was sent to Elizabeth.

The cards are not just paper and ink cards. They are filled with memories and testimony to our loved ones. I gotta believe that Elizabeth will feel that when she opens the envelopes that arrive from all over the US and a few from overseas. How can all of that not be felt? It is too enormous to not fill her room with the love that is in them.

And this is just my story - oh, there are others! You know when you participate in something like this, there is a gift in it for you too. It touches all who are a part of the enormous circle. You can't stand on the outside of this one. If you are in, you are in!

And so it goes - I have heard that the cards are arriving now - along with a package of homemade cookies! I have no idea who did that but there you go. Elizabeth is so thrilled and, as expected, surprised! This now has a life of its own and a startlingly, amazingly, ridiculously large heart.

Thank you.

EDIT 11/08/07 - today Elizabeth got 16 cards, one offer to be a penpal and an offer to be an adopted grandparent. I got to talk to Elizabeth and the pure delight in her voice was so heartwarming. "Sixteen, Sandi. I got SIXTEEN cards today." She is reading and treasuring each one. She has no idea that there are about 80 more in route. Wow.

No comments: