help wanted

'2010-04-22' photo (c) 2010, Brenda Gottsabend - license: for help is not my strong suit. No, seriously. It's reeeeeeeally hard for me.

After a lifetime of advocating for a cause I believe in, it's painfully difficult to advocate for myself. I'm actually tempted to unpack the reasons behind that, but I recognize that it would be just a procrastination tactic, keeping me from what this post is really supposed to focus on.

Asking for help.

Oi vey!

So here goes...

I moved to Africa when I was 19, and lived there as a missionary for 13 years. And then my husband left, and a year ago we were forced to shut down the ministry.

When I left Africa last December to move back to the States, I had to leave behind everything but the clothes, shoes, and few valuables I could fit in my suitcases.

I did (thankfully) get to secure some square footage on a shipping container for all of my irreplaceables: Like family heirlooms, priceless (to me) African pieces I've collected over the years, handcrafted baskets, photos and framed art, some large wooden furniture pieces, and my Big Easy. But this was over a year ago, and the shipping container still hasn't left South Africa. At this point, I have to wonder if it ever will...

For now, all I have is what I managed to take home in my luggage on that last flight from Africa.

I couldn't bring my cozy couches or my stash of throw blankets or my DVD player. I had to ditch my pots, plates, glasses, and silverware. There was no way to save my appliances, kitchen gadgets, bedding, towels...

The list of what I had to walk away from is seemingly endless.

I've been living on the generosity of friends-who-are-like-family for the past year. I am beyond grateful for the ways they have opened their hearts and home to me, loving me through such a difficult season. I wouldn't have made it through without them. Truly.

And now... in just two weeks... on February 18th... I move into an apartment. Here in Nashville.

I can't tell you how equally exciting and frightening that step is. But I can tell you it feels good. Really good.

I have an apartment! And that's more than I've "had" for a long time.

I get overwhelmed though when I think about the fact that I basically have an empty apartment. (And I'm battling the deep missing of my old "stuff", which really just signals the missing of the life I lost...But I'm trying not to spiral. Not today anyway.)

The business of starting over from scratch is a difficult one, let me tell you.

And I can't do it alone. It's impossible.

So I'm asking for help.

If you live in the Nashville area, would you look through your house for furniture and kitchen/house stuff that you'd be willing to part with?

If you know someone who lives here, would you ask them if they have anything they'd like to "donate to the cause"? (Heh. Old habits die hard...)

If you or someone you know has a pick-up truck to help on move-in day (Feb. 18th), that is needed as well.

Would you spread the word in whatever way you can?

I can't even tell you how big a help this would be to me right now.

But it would be enormously BIG.

Thank you, friends. Really.