Like a lot of writers, I have an imagination that runs wild. If I enter a contest, I can’t help but daydream about all the awesome things I’ll do with my winnings. In my head, on more than one occasion, I’ve interviewed with all the big talk show hosts, I’ve performed with my favorite actors, and I’ve made a difference in peoples’ lives.
You see, I really am like Oprah, only poorer.
Knowing that I have a leaning towards telling myself such grandiose tales, I expect absolutely nothing I imagine to ever come true. Even the not so grandiose.
It’s not pessimism, but a protection. I tend towards the philosophy that if I don’t expect much, if anything, from people or situations, I won’t ever be disappointed.
I know. Not the most uplifting point of view.
But, sometimes, something really cool happens. Sometimes, people surprise you and far exceed expectations you didn’t dare to have.
A few years ago, I joined an online forum for moms and moms to be. I wasn’t looking for anything more than a place to go and read up on pregnancy symptoms and quirks, plans for when the baby arrives, and the usual things that go swirling around in the mind of a pregnant woman. The forum divided women into due date groups, so I became a part of the July/August group.
Two and half years later, I found out one of the moms from the group was going through some seriously difficult times. Without going into personal details that aren’t mine to share, it became necessary for her to take refuge in a women’s shelter with her two little ones.
Up to this point, she was going to school via online courses, but in her need to keep her children and herself safe, her laptop didn’t make it. There was no way for her to get it back, which would mean quitting school. The expense of a computer was something that would likely be too much for quite some time.
I’ve never met this woman in person, but I felt awful. I wanted to do something. Anything. But what could I do? I’m barely in a position to buy someone dinner, let alone a laptop.
I pulled up my Twitter account that night and started asking around for help.
I sat staring at the Hootsuite app on my phone, imagining how awesome it would be if someone made something big happen. In my usual style, I let myself daydream about it, but I told myself to expect nothing.
And that’s when I got a tweet from Mr. Southcotte asking if I found someone to help yet. He followed up with words I didn’t expect.
“I might be able to put something together.”
A series of DMs and a few emails later, that “might” turned into a definite yes, and as of Thursday evening, there is a special delivery on its way to this mom in need.
In addition to the kindness that Mr. Southcotte displayed, the mothers from the aforementioned due date group offered to cover any shipping costs if needed, in addition to the emotional support they’ve been giving throughout the week. Some of these moms have their own struggles, but are willing to sacrifice and give, even a little, to help a fellow mom in need. (The whole concept of #GoWithout!)
A lot of time on social media is self serving. Read my blog! Buy my book! Laugh at my jokes! Look at how awesome I am!
Hey, we all have to make a living, and sometimes that is just part of getting the job done.
But the platform social media gives us can do so much more than that. It can be one that allows us to serve others.
My expectations when I sat down and wrote that tweet didn’t amount to much. But I am so glad that I did it anyway. Even more, I am glad that someone chose to exceed those expectations.
And I’m hopeful that many more will make that choice in the future. Maybe that overactive imagination isn’t such a bad thing after all.
[On a related note, if anyone knows of a lawyer in the Ft. Worth area who does pro bono work, please let me know. Dazzle me, internet.]