In 33 hours, the indiegogo campaign my friend started for me will be over. The goal was $1000. Right now it has $1150.
It's purpose was to raise funds to replace my coop, run, and chickens. When he and his wife told me they wanted to do this, I was embarrassed and I thought they were nuts. Raising money for chickens? For an unnecessary hobby? For me? Who in the world would want to contribute to that?
Well, at least 31 people did. Jenna Woginrich, who has more than enough of her own troubles and joys and has never even met me, promoted it on her blog. Most donations were anonymous. Most of the ones which weren't were from someone I didn't know. My friends shared the link on their facebook walls and sent it to other friends of theirs. People gave. Out of their own wallets, earned with their own sweat, they gave their own money so I could replace my chickens.
Not so I could buy food or clothes or school supplies or pay my mortgage or power bill. I have received that kind of charity before and I am very thankful for it. But this is something different, somehow. This is for chickens, for heaven's sake!!
Charity is the King James Bible word for Love. Today it largely means a voluntary gift to someone in need. A gift that is given out of love. These gifts, all 31 of them, or 1,150 of them if you want to count dollars, were certainly made out of love. The gift of the fundraiser, put together unasked for, was from love. The gift of sharing, friends and strangers who emailed the link or put it on their facebook page, that was out of love. Jenna posting on her facebook and her blog, which gets a whole lot more traffic than this one for sure, that was out of love.
My friends love my family and me, for whatever reason. This fundraiser is kinda a big deal, but it's not out of character for them. They have been there for me consistently through joy and pain, in little things and in big things, and I am blessed by them on a very regular basis. I do not take this for granted. I only try to keep up in return.
The campaign was started for me by homesteading friends who know me, but JennaWoginrich has never met me, and neither have a lot of the contributors. Their love is for this lifestyle of farming, homesteading, whatever you call it. It's full of wonder and work and fun and beauty and joy and muck and sweat and life...and death. It doesn't let you go on out of town vacations and it doesn't let you stay in bed and it doesn't let you forget miracles happen daily. It's not for everyone but those who love it wouldn't give it up for anything. I was just learning that when a raccoon and at least one dog introduced me to the harder side of this life. I thought about quitting. Everywhere I looked there were other chicken owners and homesteaders with similar stories. What was the point?
I can't tell you. I meant to, I wrote the whole blog post to say thank you and to get to this point....but now I don't know what to write. What is the point?
The answer isn't here on my computer in my living room. It's out there, in my yard, in my torn down run and empty coop. In the space where I'm planning on putting my new coop and fence. In my memories of eggs hatching and fuzzy clumsy chicks. In the mosquito-bitten mornings watching half-grown chickens peck at my toes and go berzerk over the horn worm from my garden. In the community of friends and strangers who wouldn't let me lose all that.
I guess that's love. I guess that is the point.
It's pretty overwhelming. These monetary gifts, from friends and strangers, I can't pay back or forward right now. The love, well I will do my best. I'll love the chickens and get them a great coop and run. I'll love my family, both my blood family and my chosen family here in South Carolina. I'll love this lifestyle and the community that comes along with it.
To you, my people, I will never ever forget what ya'll have done for us. I'll see it every time I look out my window or go outside and I'll taste it in every one of my very own eggs. I'll teach it to my kids and plant it in my garden. I'll pass it on every chance I get. I can't wait to post photos of my new coop and chickens.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.