An Invitation: overwhelmed by love

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Yesterday our family experienced overwhelming love and care from members of our community that we had intended to show our care and support for. It was a most beautiful turning of an idea upside down.

Today was a very special day for the Storm family, and we’re very excited to share it with you.

Colin and I had decided on Sunday that we didn’t just want to listen to the stories of sorrow, fear and concern that our friends and colleagues have been sharing in their own personal experiences recently. We didn’t want to just acknowledge and voice that this is unacceptable, we wanted to actively bring light. We called our neighborhood Temple and our neighborhood Islamic Center to ask if we could bring some flowers with our children on an early release day from school. Colin and I feel that the best work we can do is through our children, and hoped that this simple act of kindness would reinforce our message to our brood of 4 that they are helpers. We weren’t prepared for the depth of love we received.

Orchids and Starbucks cards in hand (what staff doesn’t need a cup of coffee?!) we headed out this afternoon expecting to drop the small gifts with the front desks, share our message of gratitude for how they serve our community, and be on our way. Within minutes at each location, we were surrounded by contingents of staff each eager to meet us and our children. We were given gifts, we were given blessings, we were hugged and hand-shaked, we wept together, we worried and hoped together, we learned more about how each place cares for not just their worshipers but the broader community and other places of worship including the other one we visited. It was beautiful and to be honest overwhelming. Out of earshot of the children, we noted that we are aware of the increase of hate crimes against the Jewish and Muslim communities (let alone many other communities) and that we were sorry. What moved us so much was how grateful they were that we came, that we demonstrated care.

So here’s the invitation, especially to our friends that share a similar background to Colin and I (though it might be easy to forget that I’m an immigrant too). We invite you to consider how you might learn more about the experiences of people around you and to act in an authentic way that might offer light. Even asking how someone is doing right now and listening, is a very powerful thing.

We know these are only small gestures and spent time discussing this with both staffs, but we all agreed it is important. For us this is only one of many ways we continue to move forward and I know I’m likely not ‘doing it right’ – but as a couple of friends of ours have noted – we need to become comfortable with being uncomfortable to be a part of change.

Lastly, as you know from my Facebook feed I rarely post photos of the kiddos – today was too special of a day not to. Sending our love to each and all of you.