Updated: Dec 21, 2020
Over the past week I’ve been in Honduras. This part of the world was devastated by not one but two powerful hurricanes within days of each other. There are people here who haven’t had food or drinking water for days and the flood waters still swell around them. I’ve met people who are now living by the side of the road in a tent made of wooden poles and a tarp. I’ve helped get basic supplies to people who didn’t know when help would, or could, arrive. In some cases, hope was waning that help would arrive at all.
I’m here with a group of men and women who are used to seeing this kind of devastation and jumping in wherever they can to help. They go all over the world when this kind of catastrophe occurs. They are amazing to watch in action. No problem is too big or small for them and every person they meet is greeted with compassion and connection. I am humbled to be a part of this group. As I was packing for this trip, I decided to include a bunch of bracelets that one of our artisans makes for the Global Girl Life shop. They are colorful and fun and I thought they might lift the spirits of the people we were going to help. I’m not sure why I thought of it but I’m so glad I did.
We had the opportunity to spend time with a group of children this week. There were kids of all ages and I decided this was a good time to see if anyone wanted a bracelet. Soon, I was surrounded by little girls and boys, reaching out their tiny arms for me to put one of these bracelets on them. Their smiles and laughter at receiving the small gift was so heart-felt and joyous that I felt each one in my bones.
You would have thought I was handing
out trinkets of gold.
These people, who had lost everything, were overjoyed at receiving something as simple as a bracelet. But I don’t think it was the possession itself that caused them to smile and laugh when I put them on their wrists. I believe it was the hope it symbolized. Many of them lost everything in the storms - their homes, clothes, food, money. Everything. Now they had something of their very own.
They were thankful for anything so they
were thankful for everything.
Seeing the challenges and pain I’ve seen this week could make this a message of sadness. But it’s anything but that. Yes, there has been fear and sickness and loss. But there has also been resilience, families sticking together, people working together, respect, compassion and love.
Yes, I have been given an incredible opportunity to help others this week. But I have received so much more in return. Some day, I will process it all and share it with you but right now, on Thanksgiving, the emotions are too raw. It is that powerful.
This year, I will celebrate Thanksgiving with people I’d never met until a few days ago. We will be knee deep in water, trying to get basic supplies to people who live in places that once were lush and green and, I have faith, will be again. I am honored to be able to do this. It is one of the most life-changing and life-affirming holidays I’ve ever experienced.
I am reminded everyday, but especially over this past week, that we all have a role to play in keeping our human connection strong. A shared smile, a genuine laugh or even a small bracelet can change a life. It really is that simple and that powerful. Thank you all for your place in my life. I give thanks for each of you. xoxo Shannon
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