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Going down at mach .99

November 9, 2012

Why does it seem that when we have been hit with adversity we also get that additional sucker punch??   Even Mother Teresa stated that “I know God won’t give me more than I can handle.  I just wish he didn’t trust me so much.”  Well said sister.

There are those chapters in our life story that just seem to be chock full of challenges.  I don’t know about you but I’m getting tired of flipping through those pages.  What really gives me whiplash and snaps my focus back in perspective of not wallowing in self-pity but rather wadding in patience and acceptance is when I see by the challenges of those around me realize once again that my challenges could be worse.  It could always be worse.  And when you see your neighbor experiencing a greater set back then you, you start to feel a bit guilty for being a thorn in God’s side asking for a lighter weight to carry. 

The man/husband/father who was laid off three weeks ago and is trying desperately to figure out how to pay the bills, feed the family, and not lose the “farm” while he wades through the month waiting period for the unemployment to begin.  If he had the pen in his hand he wouldn’t have written unemployment in this chapter.  Being a man of hard work ethic, even when his badly damaged knee flairs up and his ability to keep up with the younger laborers is difficult, he would rather work 24/7 then have this incredible stress on his shoulders of trying to figure out how to make it through a 30 day period (at best) with no income at all.  He knows his wife and son didn’t sign up for this challenge and though he could rough it, he will not sit still for one day while their well being is in peril.  He has drug himself to every opportunity for work and assistance possible, day after day for the past 3 weeks.  He’s tired, his knee is locking up, and the hope is diminishing.  There is fire in the engines and he’s trying desperately not to go down and take his family with him.  “I’ll do any work you can find.  I just need to cover this $800 rent for this month then worry about next month when it arrives. One challenge at a time.”  I like him.  I wish I had a huge company that could employ men of his ethic, determination, and commitment to his family.  But I don’t so I do the only thing I can do, make his (and those just like him) plight public. 

I know there are those that can bridge the gap for our struggling friends who are between making ends meet and plummeting to the ground at the speed of sound.

I have asked for help for some challenges.  I was assured that those that I reached out to were “on my side” and would do what they could to help me tackle the challenges that I was facing.  I waited patiently, then nervously.  I didn’t want to be a bother.  Things got worse.  I started to feel like I wasted my time and that I realized I needed to figure out how to save myself on my own.  I see that cynicism in others who confide in me their burdens and challenges. 

I asked her how her husband was and her eyes welled up.  I reached for her hand and asked her what he was suffering from.  “Alzheimer’s and he is worse every day.”  I asked her if there was anything I could offer to her that would help her.  She pulled herself together and said her and her three sons were dealing with this.  Why should it be just her and her three sons?  I told her I will be checking on her and calling her and would like to meet with her soon for breakfast or coffee.  If it is just her and her three sons who will comfort them when he’s gone?  They will all be a pile of wreckage and who will help them put the pieces back together? 

It is our responsibility as humans, as compassionate warm blooded creatures, as concerned neighbors, to reach outside of our own lives, our own “messed up, frustrating, stressful, chaotic, crazy busy, seemingly forever challenged yet not as bad as their problem” lives to offer that neighbor a hint of hope, or at the very least a hand to pull them up from the pile of rubble that that chapter of life will leave them in.

I have rarely reached out for that hand, but when I have it has been during my most difficult storms and when I can’t find one set of hands to help me through it that only makes me more determined to make sure I never ever say I’ll help when either I am not able, or to fail to follow through. When and if I, or anyone, does that we are simply contributing to the force of gravity that is pulling that person to the ground and making  it more difficult for them to gather up the scattered pieces from the crash we could have possibly help prevent. 

I am proud to be a set of ears that friends feel comfortable confiding in. I am proud to be working in the cockpit of a Foundation who’s mission is to attempt to be a conduit of assistance from those that have to those that need.  It may simply be a lead on a job (which our friend/husband/father is applying for right now as I type referred to me by “a friend”), or it may be one month’s rent (which I’m trying to rally right now also as I type- multi-tasking!), or it is a sit down with a friend who is about to lose her “world” and assuring her that no matter what she will not be alone and she will feel comforted by many hands who want to provide assistance to help her up when she gets to the page of that dreaded chapter of her life that her husband of 40 years unwillingly leaves her side and waits for her in what we hope and believe to be a much better stressfree, illnessfree, beautiful, wonderful, euphoric life. 

Until then, please join me in trying to be the gale force winds that steer our friends who are in a nose dive from plummeting to the gliding mode. 

Hope and Friendship Foundation’s mission is to be a conduit from those that have to those that need.  Whether it be monetary, gently used donations, in-kind household need donations, food, employment opportunities or a hand extended during a stormy chapter of life. 

Wishing you peace.

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Donations: 721 Hickory St., Lemont, Ill 60439


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