Life has a funny way of unfolding sometimes. Over the course of my life, I have come to believe that some things happen for a reason.
I remember the first Christmas after we came home with our son from Ethiopia like it was yesterday. We were living outside of Washington, D.C. at the time, getting ready to move to Ohio where we didn’t know many people. What a year it had been; and in the whirlwind of packing, gifting and saying good-byes, I was on a mission to make all of my Christmas gifts to family members significant to Ethiopia.
Specifically, I wanted to purchase gifts for others where the proceeds would benefit Ethiopian children. I researched online, and found that a non-profit called Ethiopian Orphan Relief had a little online shop with Ethiopian jewelry and scarves. All of the proceeds went to help Ethiopian orphaned children.
I bought my sister-in-law a necklace and found a necklace that I LOVED for my husband – and myself. It read, “My Heart Is in Ethiopia.” But at the online check out I found there was only one in stock. Bummer. I bought it for my husband, who loved it.
I checked back every so often to see if it had been restocked, but to no avail. And as I became more familiar with Ethiopian Orphan Relief’s Web site, I thought over and over to myself, “I wish I could be a part of an organization like this someday.”
A couple of months later, we had moved to Ohio (where I still knew next to no one) and found myself sitting at Paige’s dining room table. I had just met her after hearing about a local group of families and volunteers planning Columbus’ upcoming Enkutatash celebration. As Paige talked about Enkutatash, she frequently referred to things she had done for “EOR.” Confused about the acronym and a little bit shy, I sat quiet for a while. Then, finally, I interrupted.
“Excuse me, but what is EOR?”
“Ethiopian Orphan Relief,” she answered. She said a few more things about how she and a group of other adoptive moms had started EOR, but I didn’t really hear her because of the loud “CLICK” that had just gone off in my head.
“You mean, the non-profit that sells that necklace that reads, “My Heart Is in Ethiopia?” I asked, sounding ridiculous (because yes, I knew EOR did more than sell necklaces. But I was just putting pieces together and absorbing this new information).
“Yup!” Paige said cheerfully, and continued on with whatever she was talking about. I couldn’t focus on what she was saying though because I was kind of in awe of Paige’s awesomeness and surprised by the connection I had just made. Paige, who stood before me, had helped start that great non-profit I had bought our Christmas gifts from? WOW, the world is small! Once again, I secretly hoped I could one day get involved with an organization like EOR.
And overtime, I did. As I became closer friends with Paige (and the group of wonderful women who have become our “Tribe” in Ohio), I began helping Paige out with EOR projects in small ways when and where she asked. I was honored when she asked me to help her plan the Dead of Winter Bash (held last month). And when she asked me to be a board member, I could barely hear what she was saying because of the loud “CLICK” that once again went off in my head.
Things do happen for a reason, and life really does have a funny way of unfolding. I was reminded of this again as I perused the items to bid on at the Dead of Winter Bash – and came across a necklace similar to the one I I had bought for my husband on our first Christmas home from Ethiopia.
So now I have finally one too, to (almost) match the necklace I bought my husband a few years ago. And though it means something very different today than it did back then, our hearts really are in Ethiopia.