What’s on my mind…

2 01 2015

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2015.

I like to pretend sometimes that I can write. I know that I can’t, and I probably will never actually write the book I’ve been trying to write for four years now, but hey, it is really fun to come back to my blog every month (or two or three or five) and like an “old friend” I know really well, I get to sit a moment and gather all my thoughts together and do this, with a cup of coffee in my hands, I get to place the words on the page… which I guess you can call “writing” if you must.

Search and Rescue. Many people have been asking me about this. And all I want, is to do it supreme justice because it is so inexplicably special.

Let me backtrack a moment.

In February it will be 7 years since we packed up our home in Linksfield, Johannesburg. I still have a really hard time talking about ‘that day’! That day that an armed home invasion rocked our world to the core. That day that we were barricaded in our bedroom with two little girls. That day that police went through our home in bullet-proof vests, and later said to me: They may come back to finish off what they started. That day that I knew that we would leave South Africa forever. That day that my “home” became a very scary place.

I have a hard time talking about the day we arrived in Seattle. I had a roof over my head but suddenly the word “home” was empty. Really I did not know where my real home was, anymore. For many years I had a foot in the USA and a foot in South Africa. I became an “immigrant” and suddenly had all these connotations to deal with. I had no idea where to start. Every time something would happen that would make me feel sad I would hear myself saying, I just want to go home!

But’ then, slowly and steadily, home became where God had placed me… In Seattle, in my house, in my life, in my work.

I couldn’t get a job as a Social worker, and every other option felt like a sell-out. So I made a choice. What is on your mind?, my Facebook status update would ask me. Some days I got so mad. Why do you care what’s on my mind, I’d think. This is What’s On My Heart: I just want to love on some people but How? How? HOW? I’d rage. Then my friend said to me, Become a Life Coach! So I did! Then another friend said to me, Do The Birthday Project!! So I did. Then my mom suggested I make each day all about the kindness. Why only on your birthday, she asked? So I did. Then it got fun… because then I started helping other people do acts of kindness to celebrate, to honor, to remember, to grow. I became dear friends with the founder and global leader of TBP and Robyn inspired me to lead Seattle’s The Birthday Project chapter.

And then I heard about Union Gospel Mission. Their website says:

” Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission provides emergency care and long term recovery services to hurting and homeless people in the greater Seattle area. We’re dedicated to serving, rescuing and transforming those in greatest need through the grace of God”.

And so, on my 41st birthday, in lieu of birthday gifts, I asked people who loved me to donate to the mission instead. Cyril, the girls, and I drove into Seattle with a minivan packed to capacity with donations from so many wonderful friends. “Mom, this place is so amazing”, said my babies.

A few months later, I met my beautiful friend, Laney, who has done numerous Search and Rescues and after telling her about my deep passion for humanity and especially for those who are hurting, she said “Let’s do this!”. So I did.

One night was all it took. A van packed with food, socks, hot cocoa and clothes, blankets and hygiene products. A van that stops eight to ten times, volunteers who care about the homeless because they are “our friends”. I was hooked. I had finally come home!! What does that mean? Coming home?

It means: what is it that INSPIRES you, moves you, touches you. I met people like Richard, John, Keith, Kristine, Amy and so many more!! People who love other human beings unconditionally and deeply. I met people like Teresa and Adie and Amanda, and David and Detroit and others, who started to steal my heart, while at the same time teaching me that I do belong somewhere, because when I am out there serving there is nothing else more important to me in this world than THAT PERSON!!!

And then, this person (me) gets my heart all filled up with Love! The impact on following your passion and your compassion is like coming in from the cold . It’s like when someone places a blanket over you as you sleep, or when someone smiles at you and says “thank you”. That is coming home! Life is about finding the meaning and my homeless friends have helped me find mine!

Thank you to all THE Angels… YOU are on my mind!