Something amazing has happened.

A woman with all the qualities of a giving spirit donated a piece of her family’s history to Women Stand Up! International.

Last week I was browsing Craigslist and found this beautiful china cabinet for sale at a price of $100. I inquired if the price was negotiable cause I loved it but knew that it was out of my price range.

The response I got back was a surprise.

The owner wanted to give her 100 year old china cabinet to me.

Whatcha mean give? Like free?

Yes, free.

She hoped it would help the women of Kenya in some way.

The owner of the cabinet had gone to my organization’s website and discovered a world where single mothers, old women, and HIV infected women in Kenya are in need of a sponsor.

A world that I had put on pause.

I was stuck. My heart, breaking from my own personal pain of rejection, had become distant from the women who had accepted me. Loved me. With my faults, big mistakes, and past regrets. They accepted me when I spoke and when I taught and when I promised I would never forget them.

My organization hasn’t produced any significant amount of donations for these women as I had hoped it would by now but I never promised them money. They never asked.

In the days leading up to our departure from Kenya, a woman of great wisdom humbly yet boldly made a request. Hearing her speak her native language, Swahili, I could feel her heart. When she was finished I turned to our translator who said something that I’ve never forgotten.

“Please don’t forget about us here. Please tell the women of your country about us.”

It was like she was afraid of being forgotten. Forgotten by time, distance, and poverty.

And in my selfish pain I might not have earned my African name, Nelima, which means hard working woman.

Admittedly I’d lost something.

All my volunteers quit.

My 5K Walk for a Woman’s Worth didn’t work out.

I didn’t raise any money.

I had failed.

Was it pain or guilt that had created this distance between me and what I was meant to be?

But a china cabinet bought as a wedding gift 100 years ago was now a gift to me and to the women of Kenya.

It’s ironic that a wedding gift to a couple I never knew would become a turning point for me. Something about “For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, til death do us part” makes me realize that love and compassion for another can become a laboring commitment.

And sometimes committing to something or someone or some life purpose feels too difficult.

Sometimes you wish you’d never made a promise to another.

Sometimes you just want to be selfish and live your life for you.

And then you realize it’s crap.

Living your life for you is one universal joke on human kind.

So to Donna, thank you for your amazing gift to the women of Kenya.

* * *The Wedding China Cabinet will be repurposed and sold. All money received from that sale will go directly to the women I have partnered with living in Kitale, Kenya.

*If you’d like to buy this piece now I will customize the color and style to fit your decor. Just email me.

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9 Responses

  1. the cape on the corner

    that is a great piece, and i love how the whites pop against it. gorgeous!

    • ccleahy

      Thanks! I’m trying to figure out the best color to paint it…any suggestions?!

  2. suzan

    Absolutely beautifully written! ( I have a huge lump in my throat )
    And good Karma attracts good karma – that’s why that armoire was given to you – remember that, always!

  3. Dina

    I loved this story. I’m getting ready to clean out a storage unit and if you can use items, please let me know. I would be glad to donate 🙂

    • ccleahy

      Hey Dina! I’d love to snoop around at any of your yesteryear favorites! This will be the next step for the blog/non-profit. Fixing up and selling pieces will be a primary source of the donations these women will receive from Women Stand Up! International so I’d love to receive any additional donations. If you want you send pictures of things you’d like to get rid of. What ever works best for you…let me know! Thanks Dina! How are my favorite lamps?!

  4. printabelle

    What a lovely message, I hope the cabinet can benefit the beautiful women in Africa!

  5. siddharth

    Really beautiful lines. This is called the power of writing. This kind of skills is really hard to find. I love this lines “Living your life for you is one universal joke on human kind”. Really deep message it contains.

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    • ccleahy

      Thank you so much for your comment! Your words are truly a gift to my doubting heart. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you’ll be back!


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