My White Skirt

Posted by Elia Moreno on

NOTE: This blog was originally published to Elia Moreno's blog "Navigating with Elia Moreno." Elia is the Community Engagement Manager at Cal Farley's.

I was careful all day, not to soil my cute white skirt. I succeeded. 
It was 5:00 and my skirt, still white.

My phone rang, a potential Neighbor. "Mina," she said. "Hello Mina, how can I help you?"

She spoke softly, "Can you stop by my house today?"

Her place was on my way home so I agreed.
I navigated my way and it wasn't long before I found, her house. 
When I drove up she was waiting, outside with her children.

I parked and noticed the unpleasant surroundings. At this point, I didn't want to get out of the car
I felt myself already giving way to my emotions. My heart hurt, to see the place they 
had to call home. 

Emotions intact, I made my way out of the car. I immediately felt the sun as it warmed my face.
As I walked to where she was, I prayed. I asked for help, I desired Hope for this family. 
The breeze softly swayed my white skirt as walked towards her. 

My eyes scanned the area where the children were playing. I froze when I saw the children, engaged in
laughter, as they played in the water. I looked for grass, no grass just a patch here and there.
A flashing neon sign went off in my head and it read, Caution! 
Three words quickly came to mind water, dirt and mud.

I wave in Mina's direction. She waves back and greets me with a warm "hello".
She asks if we could visit outside. I respond with, "perfect."
It didn't take long before she noticed my white skirt.  We both begin to look, for a place to sit. 
She reaches for a clean towel that I could sit on. She places it on the steps and  I sit. I 
reach for her hand and squeeze it as I tell her all will be well.

It doesn't take long before the children notice us, sitting on the stairs. A
small boy comes near. I see the curiosity bubbling in his eyes. He looks me over
and then moves closer. He inches his way even closer and meekly he reaches for a hug. I squeeze
him tightly ignoring those three words... water, dirt and mud.

I understand his hug. We both do. With out words my purpose there is clear.
These were hugs of gratitude. He feels hope.
I am thankful that I can help and he is thankful that I am helping.

He stretches out his arm and hands me his armless toy. I reach out to take it. I bring it close and watch
as it drips mud on my white skirt. He knew I was there to help. 

Inside his home there is no couch, he can not offer me a place to sit. 
Inside his home he has no cup, he can not offer me a drink. 
Inside his home there is no bed, in which to lay his head. 
Until today there is no hope just  this muddy armless toy. 

Me keeping my skirt clean doesn't seem so important, anymore.
I remember an interview Murray gave one day.
He said,  "sometimes it may get muddy"

Today it got muddy.
Mina a young mother of four, has lived in domestic violence long enough.
She is out and her goal is to keep her family intact. She dreams of furthering her education someday.
She dropped out of school in the 7th grade and wishes to do better with her children.

She promises to someday pay it forward, because of people like you she will.


I've learned that people will forget what you said,
people will forget what you did,
but people will never forget how you made them feel. 
Maya Angelou
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