I pushed it on this last walk. I went to parts of the city that I was unfamiliar with. My original intentions were to park at Meijer on South Pennsylvania and walk north to the new St. Vincent dePaul Thrift Store and then make my way back south to Meijer again. My plan was to write about resilience; the nature of a person or business or even a city like Lansing to get knocked down yet find the courage and strength to get back up. I’m not talking about getting up, dusting off and walking away. I’m talking about getting hit hard, then climbing back up and standing firmly in place, hands on hips, shoulders stiff, surrounded by loved ones. They look the adversity square in the face and say, “that really hurt, but I’m not backing down. You might have gotten a good punch in but you will not win this fight. Not only will I win but this will make me stronger. Watch this!” Man I love that idea.
In the middle of December last year the St. Vincent De Paul store located at Elm and Washington in REO Town was struck by a devastating fire. It left their building, all the donations, office supplies and a multitude of undelivered Christmas presents destroyed. In less than a day new donations were being made and social media was reposting ways community members could help. In a very short time the St. Vincent DePaul store was relocated to 5206 S. Cedar St. where over 50 volunteers and an overwhelming community support, including donations from Accident Fund ($10,000 check) and Meijer ($10,000 in gift cards and merchandise), allowed them to open their new store on January 28, 2012. The City of Lansing also donated a closed down fire station to be used as a storage facility. A church in Brighton filled a pole barn with supplies and volunteers had to make multiple trips to collect all the items. All the generosity was evident when I stopped in as two separate store fronts were full of items to be purchased at very reasonable prices. I was told by the operations manager that on their grand opening day there were over 800 sales, with all proceeds being used to help pay utilities for those that are in need! Talk about resilient.
Inspired by this, I continued this walk beyond the 3 mile, one hour stroll I usually find myself doing. Not that there is anything wrong with that. The one hour, 3 mile thing seems to be my norm as I try to fit the saunters between work and school schedules of my family. Today, however, there was no need for me to race home. I had all afternoon. Yes, I skipped lunch but I think I could bear being a little hungry. I’ve recently watched (through social media posts) a couple really good people show their resilience. I feel strengthened and encouraged when watching others suffer through circumstances with dignity and courage. Like my friend Dalia. I worked with her at Wendy’s back in high school. Tomorrow is the one year marking of the death of her son. Even thinking of what she’s been through makes me teary. Yet her messages are of hope. She offers thanks to all those who’ve helped her stand this past year. She concerns herself with the perfection of her other children’s’ birthday parties. She amazes me. That is resilience. Or another friend whose healthy daughter was taken to a regular doctor appointment for a bloated tummy and learns it’s Leukemia. Wow! Did she crumble to the ground and become unresponsive in her agony? No! She started a CaringBridge page so all of her friends could go through this experience with her. She urged her friends to raise more funds than last year for our Relay for Life team. Amazing! I know someone that recently had to give testimony about a horrific crime. It’s hard for me to think about all that he’s been through and then to be asked to stand before lawyers and judges in court to the detriment of his own safety. He did this knowing he might be putting himself and his family in harm’s way. When this all came to pass I asked his wife if he was making the right choice by coming forward. She said, “He has to do it. It’s the right thing to do. Who else will do it?” I was never more proud.
These struggles go on for everyone. Something will eventually come up. It’s really how we respond to these difficulties that prove our resilience; to look at the hardship and think I will not be taken down by this. I will not give up! I will find the silver lining, the light at the end of the tunnel and the ability to feel blessed despite the agonies.
It seemed like a little gesture; to walk an incredibly longer walk than normal, in an area I was a bit nervous to walk. There were moments during this walk where I thought I could become the victim. I even called my husband at one point just to let him know where I was just in case I didn’t return. That way he would know where to find me. I was out on a street with very little around me; no safe place to go to, with dangerously fast cars passing. I knew though, that if I continued walking I would make it home. And I did, each step inspired by the strong fight by friends and family and the Lansing community.
Photos from the walk can be found here.