I think that one of the most amazing things about the internet is that you have the ability to meet so many people that you might never actually meet. Every time you sit down and fire up that plastic computer, you enter in to worlds that are similar - or vastly different - from your own.
You might meet people that live on the other side of the world, or you might meet people that live just down the street. You might meet people who are leading lives that you could never imagine. Or perhaps they are in a similar place in their lives, to your own. Or perhaps they are making their way through places you've already been and you can only offer words of support and encouragement.
A few weeks ago, I received an e-mail from a fellow blogger that happens to live in San Diego. He is the father of three-year-old girl-boy twins, and although we've never met, I know that he lives within my neighborhood.
Along with 3,000,000 other people.
The point of his note was to ask for help.
Matthew is the Director of a local YMCA and February is the month that they have their annual fundraising drive. Normally, he would be ahead of the curve with his fundraising efforts, but in mid-January, his wife suffered a psychotic breakdown due to severe depression.
During her breakdown, she purchased plane tickets for herself and the twins to fly away, without her husband's knowledge. But for whatever reason, at the very last minute, she didn't go through with her plans and instead, abandoned her children at the airport and drove home. She called 911 to tell them that her three-year-olds were at the airport and while one police car went to pick up the children - another went to pick her up.
The father was notified shortly after the police picked up the twins and he was reunited with them within hours. Luckily they were safe and while clearly traumatized, they have been doing better and better each day. His wife, meanwhile, is now in a psychiatric hospital and they have no idea if and when she will be well enough to leave.
This story absolutely rocked me.
I immediately felt such compassion for the mother. Having read their family blog, I know how much this mother loves her children. But having raised three-year-old multiples myself, I also know the kind of emotional and mental toll three-year-old multiples can take on your psyche. Charlie joked that my plan to drop our three-year-olds in Mexico was because I wanted to immerse them in a second language.
I just wanted quiet and the absolute cessation of responsibility. I very clearly remember feeling like I cannot take this anymore and if someone doesn't step in, I am seriously going to lose my mind. Thankfully, THANK YOU GOD, we had ice cream in the house that day. And thankfully, things are so much easier for me now. Sure, there are crazy moments, but by and large, four-years-old is a whole lot better than three-years-old. Not once in the past 96-hours have I even once considered auctioning our kids off on eBay.
See, I joke. But this parenting gig is damn tough work.
Suffice to say, the life of this family has been completely turned upside down. The father has transitioned to a single parent role overnight and while he did have some help from family for the first week and a half, he is now on his own with the two children. And in the midst of trying to care for his two small children and run the house and stay connected with his recovering wife, he has a YMCA to run.
A YMCA that is located a stone's throw from the Mexican/U.S border.
The YMCA that he directs is situated in a low-income community that is comprised of many families struggling to achieve the American dream. It provides childcare to hundreds of families, much of it at a free or reduced-cost. This year in particular has been an especially challenging one because requests for financial assistance have risen almost 200% over last year and they are struggling to keep up their pledge of never turning anyone away due to an inability to pay.
When Matthew sent out a plea for help, people that he has never met, immediately stepped up. Bloggers from all over the country offered various services that he could offer on an auction that is being hosted to benefit the Border View YMCA.
Here's a link to the auction page, if you are interested in checking it out and perhaps helping this worthwhile cause.
I had considered making one of my scarves for the auction, but seeing as it took me begging for people to bid $1.00 on one of my handknit creations, I decided that my best contribution would be a donation directly to the program.
Anyway. This global community warms my heart. If not for this global community, I never would have met Deana. Who tomorrow, will be boarding a plane with her husband, Jack and flying to MD Anderson Hospital in Houston, Texas.
From Jack's update earlier this evening, "We're extremely hopeful these doctors see something new, and Wednesday's visit is much more than an initial consultation -- I have no intention of leaving that hospital without Deana being admitted to the Lymphoma unit. Deana's treatment --whatever the experts deem--needs to resume immediately her doctor advised us this afternoon. We have no time to waste."
As I was reading through the various comments that were left for Deana on her CaringBridge website, I noticed that a Facebook Support Group that was founded for Deana on Friday, has recruited almost 800 members, a mere three days later. That is over 700 people, from around the world, that are praying for a woman that many of those people have never met. And that doesn't even include the people that are praying for her that aren't on Facebook. The scores of people that are holding this family in their hearts and wishing for a miracle.
There is a lot of pain and sadness in this world.
But it truly makes my heart jump with joy when I see firsthand, the potential that people have for good. Don't doubt it for a moment. Life really is beautiful.