Have you ever felt like everything is going pretty okay in your life, but there is still a void for something you can’t put your finger on? I was feeling this way, but it wasn’t until I finally let go of the need to fill the void that I actually found fulfillment organically.
How It All Began
About two years ago, I moved from San Francisco to Menlo Park. I went from having one daughter and living in a city to having three daughters and living in a suburb in less than two years. I had worked as a pediatric nurse in several different roles for many years, but I decided to give up my clinical career as a nurse after having my second two babies close together. My husband’s career was on a successful path, and I felt blessed and fortunate to not have to work and to also have sufficient help with my kids.
We were lucky to move into a beautiful home, my three girls were healthy, and I was making new friends (although not easy and a slow process). Everything was basically going really well, yet I was still feeling a void. To be honest, I felt guilty for feeling this void. I thought perhaps I wanted to go back to work. But honestly, I didn’t. I tried to find things to fill this void, and whatever I did, it was still there.
Discovering Little Wishes
One day before leaving for a birthday get-away I was looking on social media and a picture popped up of non-profit children’s charity Little Wishes that was started by an old nurse colleague of mine, Laura. I clicked on the link to the non-profit page and felt the need to send a small donation. I then went on my trip and actually forgot I had made the donation.
When I returned, I had received the most beautiful letter in the mail, thanking me for my donation. Shiny hearts popped out of the envelope along with a picture of a little boy who, because of my small donation, was able to have a birthday celebration in the hospital while receiving treatment for a chronic illness. There was a quote from the boy’s mother thanking all who contributed to his birthday party and then a hand-written note from the founder (my old colleague) saying “thank you and hope your beautiful girls are doing well.” I was so moved by this letter that I knew there was a greater meaning to what it would bring.
Through Facebook, I contacted Laura and told her how much I appreciated the letter and asked if there were opportunities to help out with Little Wishes. Since the organization is run completely by volunteer nurses and child life specialists, there was not an opportunity to do volunteer work directly with the children, but Laura shared a story with me about how the organization is really in need of funding as they want to sustain their current program in 20 hospitals and were hoping to expand to the 35 hospitals on their waiting list. Suddenly, things clicked for me. I was called to help this organization. It was a way to give back to children without going back into clinical care.
I decided that I was going to take the leap of faith and chair a local fundraising event. The brainstorming began and instantly I found myself energized, motivated, and passionate. I started spending any extra minute I had on creating an exciting evening called “Laughter for Littles,” where there will be a comedian to offer some levity to a serious cause, a sit-down dinner, a silent auction, and a few really great guest speakers. Although I had never chaired an event like this before, I was called to do it. And guess what? That void was magically filled. Giving back to children, doing something meaningful with my time, and using skills I didn’t know I even had has been amazing.
There have been a few bumps in the road and challenges along the way, but isn’t that the case with any project you take on? I’ve certainly had moments of doubt and fear, but I keep reminding myself of this quote.
Don’t let your fear of what could happen, make nothing happen.
And so it’s happening…
Laughter for Littles
If you are interested in learning more about Little Wishes go to www.littlewishes.org or follow them on Instagram/Facebook at @littlewishesorg. If you are interested in learning more about “Laughter for Littles” happening September 26, 2019, please contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org.