Saturday, November 14, 2009

TWLOHA Day- A Day of Love

It started as a random event on Facebook I stumbled upon last year and participated in, in my own quiet way. This year, when I saw the event again on Facebook, I thought I would share it with the people I loved and treasured. I invited every single person in my friends list to the event and was surprised to see as the days went on more and more people sign up to attend. I became more and more excited for the day.

So the day came yesterday and I woke up happy and joyous, simply knowing that today was going to be a big day for TWLOHA and how just maybe one person in the world would find out their not alone in their struggles and there are people all over who understand them.

What today held in store for me was much more than simply knowledge, than a feeling of community, than a hope for others.

Today showered upon me an outpouring of love that almost brought me to tears multiple times throughout the day. People sent me pictures of their arms, love written splendidly all over them, and the most beautiful words of love and encouragement. I literally could not process some of the things my friends were telling me, the love was so overwhelming and affecting.

And I just wanted to share them with you tonight because... these are the people I know and love. These are the people who are there for me no matter what. These are the people who would fight for me. These are the people who would stand with me. These are the people who accept me as I am, who accept each and every scar I have ever made. These are the people who represent the TWLOHA movement, whose goal is love, whose mission is love, whose life is love. And these are the people who show it.

And this is simply the only way I know how to thank them.

So thank you. And know that I would do the same for you, each one of you beautiful souls. You inspire me to be a better person... No, a better me, for you love who I am. Thank you for allowing me to be me, for accepting the person I am, and loving me anyway.

Thank you for being you.

"I love TWLOHA. Not because it's an amazing organization and they put a huge focus on music, but because of what it means to you. I've never struggles with cutting, but the way it helped you is absolutely amazing. I'm so thankful they were able to reach you in a way no one else was able to. I love you so much and am so thankful Jesus placed you in my life. You're so amazing and your life and story are going to affect and change so many people. Have an amazing day."

"Just wanted to let you know that I love love LOVE you so much. I'm so happy that you are in my life and I'm grateful for the amazing time our frienship has brought and will bring in the future. I'm wiriting love on my arm today because I love you!"

"Good morning, Chelsey. I thank God for you every day! I am so blessed to have you" (My mom didn't know it was TWLOHA day, but she just wanted to make my Friday the 13th better. (: )

Thank you everyone so much. There were more words and more arms and more love than this blog could ever hold. But I'm going to leave you with Jamie's, the founder of TWLOHA, words about the day because they capture the very essence that is this wonderous day. Thank you again.

Each week, Lindsay from our team sends an email to the entire TWLOHA team. When we open this email, it's a time to reflect on some of the messages and emails that have come in over the last few days. Some of the messages are heavy and hard to read. Others are full of hope and encouragement. Life is both and everything in between.

Lindsay sends these messages to remind us of our mission, the heart of the matter. Each week, as we read the messages she includes, we're reminded where this started and we're reminded why we do what we do.

Today, "TWLOHA Day", is one that our team didn't come up with. We don't know a lot about it, to be honest - not sure where it came from or how it spread to so many people. But perhaps that's been true for much of our story - we've seen the best of passion and communication. We've seen people share and build something beautiful together.

With today in mind, i want to share one of the messages that Lindsay sent to us yesterday:

"My name is Taylor and I am 22 years old. I have been an addict for the past six years of my life and have been looking at getting into rehab for awhile now. I should be checking in sometime this week I am just waiting for my federal aid to come in. I wanted to thank you guys for doing what you do and being there. I haven't personally ever talked to anyone with your organization but my sister heard about it somehow. My sister is 18 years old and has never used a day in her life. Ever since I started using I haven't been there for her and we kind of live two completely seperate lives. We haven't gotten along. Today my sister picked me up from my house and said she had a surprise for me. We went and got love tattooed on our arms. She has never had a tattoo so this was a big step for her. She started crying, I haven't seen real emotion from my sister in a long long time. She told me what you guys were about and expressed what she has felt about my use and the way I have made her feel. I made a promise to her to stay clean, something I have never said to anyone. Every time I look down at my arm it will remind me of what a commitment my sister has made to me and to helping me stay clean. I just wanted to thank you guys for helping her understand and helping her accept me and not frown upon me. Your organization has really made an impact on both of our lives and I really wanted to express my gratitude.

Thank you so much for what you guys do everyday and what your organization will continue to do for so many people, you guys really do save lifes.

Thank you so much.

All the love and respect in the world."

If you decide to write the word "love" on your arm today, please remember the heart of the matter. The goals were never "cute" or "fashion". Our title, "to write love on her arms", was born as a goal and it remains a goal. We're inviting people to fight for their lives and for the lives of their friends. We're inviting people to believe better things.

If you want to help us spread the word about hope and help, we would be honored. If you want to tell people that they need other people, that every story matters - again, we would be honored. We say these things because we believe them to be true, and because too many people live alone under other lies.

Let's continue to fight to figure out what this word "love" means. Let's aim for how it looks and how it sounds - maybe something like humility and confidence and kindness, maybe honesty and compassion...

We're in all these things together. It's bigger than cute and it's louder than fashion.

Thanks always for your support.
You matter very much.

Jamie and the entire TWLOHA team

1 comment:

  1. Oh, Chelsey. This makes me so happy.
    I love you. SOOO much! What my text said was the complete truth. I thank Jesus everyday for bringing you into my life. You are so amazing and even though you are 12 hours away (ugh!) it makes the time I do get to see you, even more special.
    I love that you got reminded by SO many people that you are loved. That you are special. That you are crazy beautiful. That you are strong. That you conquered this huge obstacle.
    I can't wait to see you!


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