In the spirit of Christmas, I wanted to share a little story of generosity with you.
I have been very excited over the last 5 days to see people buying the pattern for Whirlwind Socks. At last check, around 26 people have helped me accumulate a donation to send to the City of Washington Tornado Recovery Fund. I've been very happy to see people from all over the place purchasing it - not just midwesterners who are familiar with tornadoes, but East Coast residents who might have experience with hurricanes and Europeans who have probably only see that sort of devastation on tv.
I've also seen familiar names of local knitters come through my paypal account. But this morning I woke up to the name of a Washington acquaintance in my inbox. She is someone I knew from the days when I taught music at a local grade school. I remembered being at her house for some reason or another (I think she hosted some sort of baby or wedding shower that the teachers all attended) and I had a moment of relief thinking, "She must have been really lucky because most of the section of the neighborhood she lives in was heavily damaged." (The photos I posted in my last blog post were taken very close to where I remember her living.)
Then I noticed the address paypal sent along with her payment. "Oh, she has moved to a different town," I thought. Still lucky - I bet her old house didn't make it.
Next I clicked from my e-mail inbox over to Ravelry where I had a message in my inbox….it was from this same acquaintance. She just wanted to say some very kind things about the fact that I was donating pattern sales to this cause. But here's the kicker. She said she was living in the town I saw in her paypal address "while we rebuild". So yeah, she obviously lost her house, and here she was sending in her $5 donation like so many others have already done. And while I'm touched and have to hold back tears as I type this, I'm not at all surprised. Because that's the kind of people we live with in this town - they may have problems of their own, but they're never in such bad shape that they can't help out a friend or a neighbor.
I was talking to a close friend not too long ago about what a crap year 2013 has been for so many people we know. She was saying it's hard to understand why some people seem to have everything go wrong all at once. She referenced a mutual friend who lost her dad very suddenly just a couple months ago, then had her house heavily damaged in the tornado. I told her that the friend probably has her bad days, but she's also probably looking at the people around her thinking, "I feel so bad for my neighbors because, while my house was very damaged, their houses are completely gone." If there's one thing I've learned this year, it's that we are able to handle whatever life brings our way. And part of handling it is realizing that someone always has it worse than you. Sure, I was basically sick from April through December of this year, but there are other chronically ill people out there who don't have a husband who takes care of them when they can't do it themselves, a mother who will drop everything and drive for 2 hours to give that husband a hand when he needs it, or fantastic health insurance so they can get the care they need without worrying about going bankrupt.
When the tornado hit, I was ticked that I was too weak to go outside to help with sorting through the debris and cleaning up (I learned my lesson with the chin stitches, universe! I'll be good until I get my strength back!) But I did find a donation center where the kids and I could help by organizing clothing donations, and a school kitchen where we could help prepare food that was taken out to volunteers. It's the same philosophy that I saw in the Ravelry message this morning: no matter what each of us is facing, we get through it by looking outside ourselves and trying to find something that we can do for other people.
So I thank you, Washington acquaintance (you know who you are!), and the 25 other knitters who have helped support tornado recovery. You all make me proud to be counted as a member of "Team Knitter".
If anyone else wants their donation sent in at the end of the month with my first check, you can find the sock pattern here.