These are the words that brought hundreds of people to tears Friday night.
I friend that I've known for thirteen years is currently battling stage IV cancer. She calls it "Act IV". She is a single mother of a beautiful 18 month old daughter, and has more fight in her than anyone I've ever known. Even before the cancer, I've always said that I'd never want to meet her alone in a dark alley!
If you know me, you know that I used to be an avid swing dancer, and cannot speak highly enough of the swing dance community, world-wide. They are the most charitable, trustworthy, loving people I've ever known outside of my immediate circle of friends and family. Within less than 48 hours we raised over $40,000 to help cover all expenses while my friend goes through her treatment. There was a fundraiser-dance last Friday to keep raising money for her & her daughter, and it was beautiful. I cry as I post this because the unconditional love and support was overwhelming. Whether it was finding a chair for her during the performances or picking up the lei when it slipped off the chair while she danced, people from all walks of life came out to support a member of the dance community. Professional photographers donated time & talent, dancers performed through out the night. I kept telling people, it was better than a high school reunion! Getting to catch up with people I've known for decades - people I actually liked & know they liked me too - it was the happiest my heart has been in a long time!
Even though there was a lingering bittersweet twinge for the first half of the dance, the speech my friend gave thanking all of us erased any sadness. The tears I cried were out of raw emotion, an overflow of love being given & received by every single person in the room. While speaking, my friend said "I truly believe I can be this. My job is to beat this. And eat kale." (I guess kale is good for kicking cancer's butt? I'd be screwed - can't STAND kale!) then she said, "I can do this. I AM doing this. And together, we can do this. We ARE doing this." We all looked at each other with tears spilling over, at that point. The friend who runs the ballroom and put the event together talked about the strength within our community, and I believe there are no words that can actually bring justice to the word "strength" in this situation.
I can't even say "God was present" and leave it so exclusive... I mean, of course I believe that God was present, I believe He's everywhere, all the time.... but it was bigger than any definition of God.... does that make sense? Or maybe it was the first time I'd ever experienced the omnipresence of God. All of us there have different belief systems, or maybe even the belief that if you do good, good comes to you, and it doesn't matter. Good people came together to do good for a loved one.