The following post was originally published on August 9, 2012. It was part of a blog relay in honor of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The idea was to write about and spread the idea of Hope. It’s a post I enjoyed writing, and I thought it was appropriate, being in the middle of the 2014 Winter Olympics.
hope (noun): the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best
A few years ago, I remember asking a co-worker about her progress on the solicitation of donations for the nonprofit where we worked. She was looking for donations of gifts for female residents of a short-term residential substance abuse treatment program. A 28-day program where women typically leave with as many days of sobriety as their stay.
Some of these women were in treatment with their children, and it was only because the program allowed them to stay with their children that they were in treatment at all.
Presents on Christmas morning were the least of these women’s worries. But, who wants to wake up in a place that’s not home on Christmas morning and not get at least one present?
My co-worker responded to my inquiry with “I asked and sent a hope and a prayer along with it.”
My response was “We shouldn’t have to send a hope and a prayer. People should just give.”
That’s easier said than done, of course. My perspective was that these women deserved to have a gift for themselves and their children on Christmas morning. Treatment isn’t easy, especially in a residential rehab setting. Contrary to some beliefs, there isn’t a magic wand in rehab that suddenly turns your life around. Plus, who wants to be in a treatment facility during the holidays?
Presents didn’t have to be big. Just enough to show the female clients that they are worthy of a gift. That they have hope for a healthy future. Or any future at all. As surprising as it may seem, some had never been given the gift of hope.
My co-worker knew from experience that people didn’t always see it the same way. It’s hard to give to a person who may have hurt more than they have helped in the past.
In the end, as it happens every year, every resident received a gift on Christmas morning and so did the children (even some that weren’t living at the facility). Kind people, churches and organizations donated things that the women and their children could use when they left treatment – clothes, AA books, a special stuffed animal that would stay with them forever and be a symbol of their new lives.
Everyone deserves a second chance, if you ask me. And, yes, sometimes it takes a few chances.