Friends of Hope

44326129_478776702531704_5555189539066085376_nI sat around the table with old friends and new. Stacks of brochures, letters, labels, and envelopes were piled on the table. Boxes were scattered across the floor, ready to be filled with envelopes to be mailed.

We came together for one purpose: prepare a mailing. There’s been lots of preparation leading up to that night. We’d designed brochures, drafted letters, written labels, contacted people, and so much more.

We’ve prayed. Lots of prayers.

And we’d cried and laughed together.

This was a group of people supporting Hope House of Central Illinois, a retreat home for parents and their families who are grieving the loss of a child.

These people I worked alongside were friends who had walked that dark road, and they are still walking it. They’re putting their hope into action so they can help others. They purchased the land and are hoping to break ground next year. Perhaps within a year, they’ll be welcoming parents and their families to stay several nights for free. Getting away on a retreat won’t take away the pain, but it might just give them a respite for healing and hope.

As I folded brochures and stuffed envelopes, I prayed about the people who would receive the letters asking for support. I prayed for the parents and families who will benefit from our efforts, despite not even knowing what they soon might be facing. I prayed for my friends, who continue to walk through grief every single day.

And I smiled as gratitude washed over me.

When you do life with others and walk with each other through the tough stuff, your rawness and vulnerability knits you together in friendship.

When you do life with others as you focus on a common purpose and hope for others, your mission unites you in friendship.

When you heal together, you grow together even when it hurts.

I am grateful for my friends. I’m excited about what they’re doing for others. And I’m thankful I get to be a small part of it.

If you’d like to learn more about Hope House of Central Illinois, click here.

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