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The circle of warmth sparked by hope.

January 27, 2015

I was among many that night, who were hoping, grieving and longing not to be alone in their ache.
We gathered into a circle to be closer, to unite stronger, to lift up his family and he in prayer asking, begging, longing for a miracle like one we have never experienced.

In a life that has such emotional drain I have found great strength in my faith.
I was standing firm in my unshakable faith, yet was literally imploring God for more. More peace, more answers, more strength, and more words that would rise up from the atrociousness of this cancerous battle and rain down a miracle of life not death.
I thought I had control on the ache that was detonating within me, trying to keep composed until I was privately tucked inside the four walls of my home, but like a fractured wall of a most powerful dam I felt my composure fail me and my emotions erupt through. All of the fear, sadness, and the agonizingly surge of recall of memories of walking through this similar dark storm 9 years prior, as my father’s battle was evidently coming to his final submission. I could hold back the tears no longer.

I felt a soft, yet firm grip on my shoulder, an offering of comfort to the eruption of emotions that were trickling out. I looked to my left and suddenly felt the air knocked from my lungs. She was offering me comfort, she who was not just understanding this battle but was also one of the warriors in the SAME battle at this very hour; she whom I had just recently extended to her, and her husband, a similar grip, a hug, my ears and my support was reciprocating the very same to me. In a place familiar to us, yet new to her, where so many friends were gathered in prayer, friends who knew the warrior but not the war and she heard of the need, knew she didn’t need to know the warrior to understand the war, and joined the forces.
“I read your posts and saw you were all gathering here and I knew I had to come. People have gathered in prayer for us I could not resist the opportunity to gather in prayer for their family. I can’t imagine what they’re going through.”
To that I replied:
“But my friend, you do. You comprehend it better than any of us.”

I continually am a humble witness and front row student to the lessons taught to me by those I find myself called to love and rally help for. Those that embody the physical, financial, or emotional struggles yet whom never stop short of offering whatever they can to others who are their peers in a similar plight.

*The parents who refused to take one more piece of clothing, item of food, or donation of items offered unless they truly “need” it and can put it to use.

*The parent who has suffered the loss of a child and reaches out to me, extending themselves, their comfort, their assistance, their experience of walking through the pain, to another they have heard who is experiencing the same excruciating nightmare.

*Those who themselves, or their loved ones, have been set on earth with the same physical disability, or atrocious disease, yet offer the $5 donation, the card, the email to express their prayers and support to another they have read about and to whom they want to encourage and assure that they are not alone.

Those who are in crisis, those who are in the depths of a battle, those that are walking through the darkness desperately seeking a glimmer of light understand the vast wasteland of emptiness and hopelessness that mockingly cackles in their ears. Only if you have found yourself catapulted into that foul and unfair battlefield’s trench would you understand, could you empathize with one that was being battered in a similar storm. From the shadows, a light is cast into the even darker abyss to extend a humble offering of hope from the determined to the broken.

I believe the magic and beauty of Hope and Friendship is that though you may not have yourself walked that path yourself you sympathize and “show up”, easing that walk and meeting a friend in their need. You hear the story, you see the struggle, you ignite the wick and cast the light. You provide the fuel that keeps the glow of hope for better tomorrows smoldering. Occasionally that exact spark that you offer explodes into a blazing flame of opportunity, healing and hope.

And on a perfect day the warmth that has stayed present in the heart of one you have helped comes full circle and helps another. What an amazing expression and testament of pure and unconditional love.

I lay my head down at night knowing I am the luckiest person in the world to be in this corner of the world in the midst such beautiful walking angels.

“Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists.. it is real.. it is possible.. it’s yours.” ~ Ayn Rand
Wishing you peace,

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL 60439
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9


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