Loving Boldly Heals Our Lives
“We love what you are doing”, they wrote to us when they sent their check. “Your message needs to spread across our community like wildfire … Keep fighting the good fight. We stand beside you in awe because of your bravery … Love boldly.”
When we opened the mail at our office that day five years ago, we were floored by more than just the words that accompanied the largest single gift Someone To Tell It To had ever received to that point:
After reading our book, Someone To Tell It To: Sharing Life’s Journey, a young married couple was moved by the financial sacrifices we made to create and nurture STTIT into being. They valued getting to know our Co-Founders Michael and Tom and their commitment to this mission. The couple appreciated Michael and Tom’s ability and willingness to “get down and dirty” with people and their struggles and fully invest in others’ lives. In knowing that it took great sacrifice to do this, the couple wanted to help.
So, they sold a vintage car and donated the money so they could help “make a real difference in people’s lives.”
Their giving enabled STTIT to continue bringing hope, grace, and healing into the vulnerable seasons of others’ lives. It strengthened and made possible the ongoing work of bearing others’ emotional and spiritual burdens, offering safety, sharing tears, and coaxing the release and expression of fear and pain.
What a joyous day it was to receive that tremendously generous and heartfelt gift. It was a day when we felt profound gratitude and humility.
That was one of the most memorable days we ever shared in that office. As we prepare to leave 216 State St., in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania; as we shuffle out from the administrative building of The Historic Grace United Methodist Church that reposes in front of the Pennsylvania state capitol building, we leave with so many special memories like that generous gift.
And there are so many more …
She reassures us that it is instructive; it has a function. “It tells us something is going wrong.” We need to acknowledge those seasons. Therein lies the beginning of healing.
One memory just as special as receiving the $20,000 donation was a $20.00 gift we received in a card one Christmas. It came from a woman we supported, someone living with deep regret and shame. In email after email, we had been writing back and forth – she poured out the story of her brokenness and pain, we responded that no matter what, she had value, goodness, and was loved. We persisted in reminding her that her past could be redeemed and the self-hatred she harbored for so long was not meant to be the last word in her life. Slowly, ever so slowly, she started to believe in her worth.
Her Christmas gift to Someone To Tell It To was the $20.00 — all that she could afford. It was like a million dollars to us because it came from deep within her heart.
Some memories are bittersweet, such as the last meeting that our board member Bob Haigh attended before passing a few months later. The story we wrote about that last meeting with Bob still touches us warmly.
Other memories are intense and heart-breaking. We can still vividly feel the anguish of the mother who had recently lost her son, a tragedy no mother should ever experience. We can still feel the poignancy of her story; its power, unforgettable.
Many make us proud like the first phone conversation we had with a 92-year old World War II veteran, still living with the PTSD of his military experience, 70 years later. He said we gave him hope, we gave him answers that he’d been searching for all those decades since. You can listen to his story on the Someone To Tell It To Podcast.
Some are celebratory and redemptive. A man wrote to us about his failing marriage, his recent cancer, the death of his father, and the death of a co-worker. He was so broken that he could barely talk when we met him week after week on Friday afternoons. But as time went on and as we sat with him while he processed his grief and pain, he began to heal. A few years later he found love again and invited Michael and Tom to be the best men at his wedding. Their story is highlighted on our podcast series, too.
And there are so many more. Stories filled with laughter. Stories touched by anger. Stories laced with horror. Stories flowing with tears. We remember so many stories from 216 State Street and the good people we’ve met there.
We want to thank the people of Grace United Methodist Church who have welcomed us, supported us, and advocated for us. We thank those who allowed us to listen to them. They are good people who we will miss. We wish for only the best for them as we take our leave.
Someone To Tell It To has grown — a lot — over the past year. COVID-19 created an exponential and urgent need for people to be heard, stories to be told, and connections to be made. We’ve outgrown the space at 216 State St. and we need to move to a space that can accommodate our growing needs. We are grateful to find one at St@rtup, just three blocks away. Join us on our short walk north to 922 North 3rd Street, Harrisburg Pennsylvania 17102.
We’re grateful for the years we’ve had at 216 State St. We’ll always cherish the memories that were made there. We’re excited about our new space on 3rd St. We look forward to the new memories that will take us into our second decade of service and mission.
Our second decade! Wow! We can hardly believe it. In January 2022, we celebrate 10 years of Someone To Tell It To. There will be more to come about that. Just wait and see where we go and grow from here!