Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Overwhelmed... Amazed... Exhausted

I can't begin to describe how tired I am.

The last few weeks have been busy as work.  When you're a fundraiser, there really isn't a "slow" time of year, but calendar and fiscal year ends tend to keep you busier than you could possibly imagine.  Between the back and forth about mailings, the conference I attended last week, the students in and out of my office making last minute phonathon calls and freaking out about finals, and the constant checking of totals to make sure we stay ahead of last year's numbers............. Whew.

I love my job.  Seriously.  I wouldn't trade any of it for the world.

I will be home for Christmas in 10 days.  The entire family is going home.  My sister Abby, her FIANCE* Eric, their puppy Ellie, their cat Shmoe, Lady Bug, and me... all of us... road tripping home to Wisconsin... in a Honda CRV.  I have never needed that chaotic family togetherness more.

On to the real reason for the tiredness.  I don't want this whole post to be negative or sound like I'm a Debbie Downer but it's been a really rough week for my family.  My uncle's house burned down yesterday.  He, his wife, and their two sons have nowhere to live, nothing to wear, none of their tangible memories.  It's devastating - I can't even imagine what they're going through.

That being said, I feel so incredibly blessed right now.  All of them made it out without a problem.  They may not have any physical belongings but they are alive and healthy and safe and that's what's most important.

Friends from all parts of my life have stepped up and offered to help.  People at work have been bringing things in and enlisting their friends help.  My best friends from Minnesota are collecting things at work and from friends and family and sending them packages of essentials, blankets, and little gifts.  Friends who I have barely spoken to in years have ordered them new clothes, are sending gift cards, and are offering more items than they could possibly take.  I can't begin to described how loved we all feel.  In less than 48 hours, our friends and family have rallied together and are providing for some of the most precious people in my life.  The people that are helping them have never met my uncle, aunt, or cousins.  Many of the people who have offered help have never met me.

Sometimes we look around this world and we see the bad things.  I've worked in public schools where kids only have one pair of shoes that they make last all year.  And heard stories from refugees about the horrible things they've seen.  I've seen people die much too young because of needless tragedies that could have been avoided.  But then something happens and we are reminded that humans are inherently good.  That when someone needs something, we will drop everything to help people we've never even met just because someone who knows someone who knows the person in need once did something that touched us.  We all roll our eyes at technology and how we're addicted to Facebook and how it's our lifeline to our friends.  But with one little Facebook status, I was able to reach hundreds of people who are at very least sending positive thoughts all towards my family when they need it most.  And all of the physical goods are of course important and they need that.  But just knowing that my family is important to all of those people, that so many people are willing to help, is overwhelming... and amazing... I've said both of those words probably 500 times today.

*Squeeeeee!  My sister got engaged last weekend.  In the midst of some really long and hard days, my baby sister who I think is one of the most incredible people ever is getting married... to a man who I am proud to call my brother.  None of that in-law crap.  If my half-brother is a real brother in my family, than so is my brother-in-law.  Congrats you two.  I'm so happy for you.  There will be many more posts about your lives together and the wedding planning to come.  I'm sorry you only got a footnote in this post.  You deserve a billboard, not a footnote.
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