This morning my 16 year old had to be in town very early for his PSAT test.  After dropping him off I stopped on my way home and picked up an espresso, so that I could hype myself up to get a lot of chores done. It worked! I burned garbage and yard debris. I moved wood. I rearranged a couple of rooms. I did some laundry. I put together a nice crock pot meal of black forest ham, thinly sliced sweet organic onions, and organic red potatoes smothered in a portobello mushroom sauce.  I jotted down notes for this blog.  My mind raced, and my body eagerly followed today.

However, I’m not going to write on what I planned to write about this morning.  It is on my heart, so I’ll save it for tomorrow but not tonight.

At the bonfire Thursday night, I was given tickets for the fundraiser/talent show for the local women’s crisis support team.  It was to be held at the big high school’s performing arts center, so the kids and I were excited about attending.  It is a beautiful brick and glass building with perfect acoustics.

Everyone was handed a glow stick upon admission, so it became a sea of pink, green, and orange neon halos in the dark theatre once the lights went down.  We clapped, stomped, laughed, and sang along with the performers.  Oh, it was amazing!  The local talent was incredible.

The individuals in the audience purchased tickets to be used for voting for their favorite performance.  And, then, purchased more tickets for the highly desirable raffle items.  The audience ironically chose the same performers that the judges did, and the winning raffle ticket owners yelled out with delight when their numbers were called.  It was all a lot of fun.

Near the end though I found myself fighting tears.

For the finale, a dance troupe held up signs with derogatory names on them and moved slowly around each other and the stage before tearing up each other’s signs.   One dancer brought a little girl in a wheelchair out to the front of the stage.  She held a sign in front of her that said SIGNIFICANT.  The other dancers then all held up signs on which affirming words were written.  The rest of the evening’s contestants and performers joined the dance troupe for a rousing rendition of Stand By Me and invited the audience to join in.

I cried.  I cried because tonight was for me.  It was for me and all of the other women they serve and rescue and keep alive.  Nights like tonight raised the money that bought my son’s coat last year.  Most of the time I feel so alone and judged, but tonight I saw my community members bravely standing on stage to perform so that they might raise funds to help victims and survivors of domestic violence.  Tonight I saw my community members throwing their hard earned money into glass jars to be used to educate women, help women, and house women if necessary as they struggle to break free from the grip of violence.  I saw a community who cares for me and other women just like me.  They care about my children and their safety.    I cried because I heard their voices singing Stand By Me, and that is exactly what they have done.

I cried because I have felt alone, and I cried because I didn’t need to.  These people of this organization and my little community have Stood By Me during my darkest hour.  I wasn’t ever alone.  Sometimes it just felt that way because I have still been seeking love and support from unsafe and unloving people.  I haven’t learned yet.  But, with the continued help from my precious, self-sacrificing advocates, I will.  I will.