Our team is a little over 4 months away from the Kilimanjaro climb. Time is moving so quickly. The past couple of months have proven to be emotionally challenging. As I’ve trained my body I’ve also felt my heart begin to go through training as well. When the trip was first mentioned my hand shot up like an arrow. I knew deep down that I was to be on this trip. I knew that I wanted desperately to help people. What I didn’t know was how much this experience was going to change me.
As I prepare for this physical journey I find myself reliving most of my childhood. Ouch… my childhood was painful. I’ve spent 20 plus years healing, forgiving and living. A few years back I believed I had moved past all that pain. That was until about 2 months ago. As I’ve thought about the Cleveland Hope Center and the reason I’m attempting to raise $20,000 and climb a mountain on the other side of world I see the childhood me. I see me as a young child watching my father (who has battled alcoholism since he was a teenager) beat my twin sister with a wiffle ball bat. I hear her crying and screaming. I see myself hiding underneath my bed terrified to help because I knew what that would mean yet feeling so hopeless at not being able to stop him. I see my 7th grade self-banging her head against the floor because my father had put my head through the corner of a wall. I feel what she felt, “Am I going to die? Why is my mom just sitting there? Doesn’t she know this hurts? Why isn’t she helping me? I’m scared. I see myself at the emergency room lying to the nurse, telling her I fell mopping. The look on her face said she knew. I see my teenage self-hearing my mother; “If you really knew her …” These are a few of many instances during my childhood where I experienced abuse, neglect and hopelessness. Alcoholism, poverty, abuse, and codependency reigned in our home. I spent most of my childhood tired, fearful, and sad. I know that I’m reliving my childhood experiences to take me to a greater level of healing and so that I remember what these things really feel like.
I’m raising funds and climbing Kilimanjaro because I want to help some child who is experiencing their own version of my childhood. I want to help the dad who struggles with alcoholism and subsequent shame because of the abuse he inflicts upon his family. I want to help the mom who is paralyzed emotionally.
These past couple of months have been beautifully humbling and I’m sure they are preparing me for the climb. They are also preparing me to serve at the Cleveland Hope Center where people facing challenges will experience tangible expressions of hope. I see the CHC as a place of refuge where people will receive tools that bring hope; financial counseling/coaching, job training & placement, help with addiction, help with depression and so much more. These things are very real and very hard for those affected and we are going to do something about it. The hopeless will find HOPE and we will change family trees. Would you consider partnering with me by financially supporting this cause? Visit www.grouprev.com/JulieBarnes