Let there be no doubt in any Kossack's mind that we are a a fractal community, one which is composed of tightly-knit smaller communities including communities of one. A Kossack is comprised of communities of cells, and there are smaller "communities" within each one of those, after all. There are names for the largest community, descriptive words chosen and agreed upon, and then forgotten.
My other name for this larger community is chosen family.
There are times that we Kossacks fight with each other. Sides are taken. Factions are claimed, even within sides. Names are called. The fights heat up, until we have a pie war on our hands. Too many good people leave during and after those. Other good people decide to step away for a while, often without saying anything about it except perhaps in Kosmail.
It happens in the best of families. It may happen more in tightly-knit familes because we are so close to one another.
We have some things in common with many tightly-knit communities and almost all tightly-knit families, though: we love, and we take care of our own.
On Tuesday night I was in email with my elder sister Aji, discussing posting another diary for BFSkinner, to whom I'd promised one to help get his moving expenses paid for. I wanted to reuse a fairly substantial part of her excellent diary for him which she wrote last week, and I mentioned something that was scaring the hell out of me. "What do you mean 'lose the house'" she asked. "I thought that was covered."
I told her what was going on, that we'd managed to put aside $2900 towards the back 2011 property taxes that we'd been unable to pay because of expenses associated with my new kidney, Bimaaji, but that there were large sums in past-due bills that were going on at the same time. Charles was supposed to do the impossible of paying out about $1500 extra from every check in March and April, including $300 for the property taxes, and thus getting them paid off at the last minute, if we could. If. If. IF. That's in addition to paying the regular bills, of course, and the rest of what we minimally needed to do. It was looking more and more like we wouldn't be able to manage and our house would wind up on the auction block at the end of April because of missing the deadline they'd set (with no notification to us). We had to come up with the entire payment including interest and penalties in one lump sum; here, they don't take partial payments, at least not for this.
Aji insisted that I put up a GoFundMe (follow the link if you want to see what I posted) and that she'd get word out about it yesterday morning via her own blog and Facebook. She wouldn't take No for an answer, and she is my big sister, so I did it, tweeted it out, and then had a night of insomnia (probably not related at all; I have chronic insomnia). Almost immediately, a friend of mine with whom I work on the cause of eliminating Native American mascots and names from sports teams and stopping "Tontoism" in entertainment donated to it.
Once Aji posted about the GoFundMe entry to her blog and Facebook, word started to spread, and a few people donated. The wonderful Avilyn saw Aji's blog post yesterday and asked for permission to post a diary about it in Community Fundraisers. I gave it and she published her diary late in the morning Pacific time.
And once Avilyn posted her diary, the floodgates of love opened. You put her diary on the rec list, where it stayed until this morning. You shared and tipped and recced and got the word out, and you donated. You donated so much and so quickly, and with such great love, posted in comments here and in comments left with your donations. I read them all. So did Charles, who was at work. The rest of the funds we needed to pay off the property taxes all at once were raised so fast it literally put tears in my eyes, good ones. For me, that's fairly rare. I'm a sentimental person, a romantic with my husband, but I don't generally tear up unless I'm sad or grieving. This time they were happy tears. It must have gotten dusty in the house all of a sudden.
So there I am in the throes of an insomnia jag, feeling love wash over me like waves. You not only funded what we needed, you donated enough over it that we should get a good start on saving up for a very necessary new front porch; the existing one's unsafe and part of it is the front entry landing (most of that part, but not all, is still safe for now). We have felt great weights lifting off our backs and shoulders. Both of us are standing less bent over, breathing with renewed expansion of our lungs, feeling backaches lessen or disappear altogether. The lifting of the weight from each of us is a very physical sensation. You did that with every donation, every rec, every tip, every share. You did that. You.
Altogether, you raised just over $1500 dollars between GoFundMe and PayPal. My jaw just dropped when I figured that out. I - both Charles and I - are humbled and amazed at the outpouring of love and community caring that we are experiencing. It suffuses my body and my spirit. I lack for words. So what's with the long diary then, right? :-)
Together, Aji and Avilyn started an epidemic of love, and it spread quickly. It is quite contagious, it seems. The next group of people to catch it started infecting others with it shortly after 7 pm Pacific time, when I posted the diary I'd promised BFSkinner. Not wanting to chop up and lessen the impact of Aji's powerful diary for him, I left it mostly intact with a very few minor edits and up it went. This epidemic spread more slowly, but spread it did. Near 10pm, BFSkinner Kosmailed me to let me know that what he needed to complete a lifesaving move had been raised and more thanks to some very generous Kossacks.
In tightly-knit families and communities, we take care of each other. When someone needs something, we do the best we can to get it to them, and we share our caring with others. We post messages for and fund Community Quilts for people in our community (including one four-legged person) who are in times of stress, illness or injury, or grief. We encourage each other to Give Up Smoking or lose weight. We fundraise for each other as you have done for us and for BFSkinner. We join together to grieve and to help each other through our grief. We fight racism and learn from each other.
We blog to protect the Earth's climate. We fund heat for Native American elders on the reservations. We raise money so that Native American children and families can eat and have warm clothes, and so that the hard-working volunteers at the Native-owned and run food bank, Okiciyap, have a little something extra for the holidays. We donate to Kickstarter projects about a operatic tenor in Abidjan and about teenage mothers in the Congo empowering themselves. We pay for Shelterboxes for Haiti and help people and animals who are victims of natural disasters.
Together, we are an enormous force for good and champion of our values. Together, we bond in community. Together, we spread love.
And together, you kept the home Charles and I love and the only one we could ever purchase, off the auction block. You protected it and surrounded us with your love. Together, you ensured that one of our community treasures, BFSkinner, now has the funds to complete his move from an apartment and building that is endangering his life to one that is a real and medically safe home.
Charles and I, together, thank each and every one of you who helped with these things in any way, including by reading the headline and sending energy.
You are magnificent.