Dec 232009

Happy Christmas Eve, Eve Monkees. Today’s post is about The Hulls. Read this to get the background.

“If we have no peace, it’s because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”

Mother Teresa

It’s important to use the right words to describe people. Words can create categories in our brains and hearts and when we categorize people, it’s easy to start thinking in terms of “them” and “us.” That kind of thinking can be dangerous, because it’s not the truth. If there is one thing I know for sure, it’s that we all belong to each other. We are all just one big, messy US, and that makes us responsible for each other. In our suburban lives we probably don’t use unfair laws and violence to separate and insulate ourselves from people…to pretend that the categories “them” and “us” exist… but I think sometimes we accidentally use words to the same end.

That’s why I have trouble using or accepting the terms “less fortunate” or “needy” to describe those who could presently use a little financial help.

The toughest and most enlightening job I ever had was teaching third grade at a school made up largely of recent immigrants in Annandale, Virginia. Once I accepted an invitation to the home of a beautiful little girl from El Salvador. Her family welcomed me into their teeny, unfurnished home and they fed me and hugged me and rocked what seemed like a million happy babies and all the big kids giggled and glowed. They worshipped their father and adored their mother. They served me as a cherished guest in their home. They didn’t have much by way of material comforts, but I left their home with an understanding that they were a very, very fortunate family.

And we have all seen news story after news story about families with every material wish granted, millions in the bank and the world at their fingertips, but they fall apart anyway. They seem pretty unfortunate to me.

So “less fortunate” doesn’t work for me, and “needy” doesn’t either. Unless I’m referring to humanity in general. Or unless I add a describing word. For example, “Hello, friend? Are you financially needy at the moment? Nice to meet you. I am emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and culinarily needy today. I’ll add more tomorrow.” This type of thing. We all have needs. We are all needy. Just in shifting categories at different moments and seasons of life.

You know that feeling you get when you actually have something that someone else needs? It’s so exciting. Because mostly, we are all a bunch of needers. So it’s nice to step over to the giver side, every once in a while. To feel needed, useful, powerful, worthy of helping. Giving makes us feel less lonely, and more significant. And those are our greatest needs…to feel connected and important. That’s why Jesus taught us that it’s better to give than receive. Because giving fills a bigger hole in our hearts than receiving does. And the good news is if we don’t allow ourselves to be too proud when we give, then we don’t have to feel embarrassed when we’re in need. Because I think we are here partly to learn how to give and receive gracefully. And I’m just grateful when I’m awake enough to respond to His invitation… to join the beautiful cycle of loving and being loved. It feels good.

So today, I’d just like to say thank you to the Hull family. Especially to Lakisia, Mama Hull. You shared your family’s needs with us this Christmas, and in doing so, you offered some needy Monkees true Christmas Peace…the remembrance that we belong to each other.

We are so grateful.

Merry Christmas, Hulls.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  24 Responses to “A Hull of a Gift”

  1. I’m a little late to the party and have just recenly discovered Momastery. Thank you Glennon and the Monkees for showing us that we belong to each other. I am a mama to an amazing special needs child, but have always felt that I was so alone. It was not until I started to give back to others and connect with other mamas who feel the same that I finally felt a connection, a place in life, so to speak. You all have inspired me more than you can imagine. I love you all!

  2. […] Read when Glennon first introduced us to the concept that We Belong to Each Other. […]

  3. Merry Christmas, Monkees and hull family!

  4. P.S.

    Merry Christmas!!

  5. Erin, Jennifer – Thank you! I hope they love the gifts they got. I dropped mine off earlier this week and the woman their said, "More gifts for the Hulls, awesome!". Talk about swelling with monkee pride 😉

    Thanks, Glennon for restoring my faith in humanity on the daily with your amazing posts!

    I absolutely LOVE that Mother Teresa quote. It's right up there with Desmond Tutu's "We can only be human together." With Albert Einstein's "Remember your humanity and forget the rest."

    OMG…Labels… uh oh…hello soap box, nice to see you again, sure I'd be happy to step up. Ahem, Labels make us prisoners to superficial living. And life is okay on the surface, it is comfortable even. But living intimately within ourselves and with each other really calls for us to drop the labels and embrace each other as one.

    G – your message here is so powerful and one that I have no idea how to teach to people, but I wish I could, I wish we all could teach the whole world over. I guess we continue to share these stories that touch us all and hope that others are experiencing what we monkees are here…

    Here's an excerpt from The Invitation:

    "…It doesn't interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me and not shrink back.

    It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you, from the inside, when all else falls away."

    We are one human family; we are all invited to take part in it.

  6. Thank you Monkees!!! I can truely say I am laughing all the way! The comments are as good as the posts (almost, but not quite!). I hope I can remember Mother Theresa's wise words as the days go by. Peace and blessings to you all! Merry CHRISTmas!!!

  7. Glennon–fess up…was the bag of Doritos from you? …and if so…were they Baked Doritos? 😉 SLang

  8. Monkees,
    I am so proud to be part of this group! Thank you to Glennon for continuing to lead us and Erin and Jennifer for helping to make the Hull's Christmas special.
    Glennon, I couldn't agree with your words more. We are all one community, one family, regardless of where we come from, who we are, what we have, etc. Let's remember this long after the holidays are over and follow in the footsteps of Taylor, one bright 7 year old lil-Monkee.

    Oh, and Kelly, up until two weeks ago, I had two under two myself (my oldest just turned two) and and I COMPLETELY IDENTIFY with you. I feel like I struggle everyday to keep my sanity. Hang in there with me. We can do it!!

    Merry Christmas Monkees!

  9. Monkees,

    I just spoke to Lakisia Hull and she asked me to thank you all for her. The gift cards were left out of the original delivery (I found them on my coffee table that evening)so my husband delivered them directly to her today. Thank you to everyone who helped bless the Hulls this Christmas. I am GRATEFUL for the opportunity to experience TRUE CHRISTMAS PEACE with you all.


    Jennifer :)

  10. Merry Christmas Monkees! I just wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you to Glennon and all of the Monkees. I have 2 boys under the age of 2 and I have really been struggling lately with motherhood and hormones. I love coming here to read about how I am not alone and how God truly loves all of me–even if my house is a wreck and smells like a mixture rotten milk and dirty diapers. Thank you for allowing me this time for me to reflect. Thank you all and Merry Christmas, we are all truly blessed.

  11. Thank you for your message, Glennon. Once again, I started my morning in tears.
    I agree that we limit our ability to love and be loved when we use these labels for others. At the same time, I find myself using them when my kids ask why some families are homeless or some children don't have what they need, much less what they want.
    It's exhausting to really see and value each person in the world. Only God (or a saint) can really do it all the time.
    I think another pitfall is that we feel more secure when we can label the "otherness" as if it protects us from those vulnerabilities. We all know that we are only an illness, a job loss, a tragedy away from being materially needy ourselves. I won't get political, but it is stunning to see such disparities in this very rich nation. And even more stunning to see how much more we have in this nation than in much of the world.
    Thank you, Monkees, for reaching out on behalf of this community.
    Merry Christmas to all your families and to the Hulls.

    On another note, I find myself singing, "Poopy girl, poopy girl, what are we feeding you? Poopy girl, poopy girl, it's not your fau-au-ault." quite frequently.

  12. Monkees- I love you, and I'll be back on the 26th.
    God Bless you and your families this Christmas.
    Love, G

  13. Thank you. You always have such poignant insight! I'm gonna' borrow Mother Teresa's quote for facebook today. Have a wonderful season! And may God continue to use you as this wonderful vessell of His important messages!

  14. maryann-
    i just read your comment and didnt notice a thing except your beautiful message. THANK YOU for sharing it. Merry Christmas. Squeeze those grandkids for the Monkees.

  15. Gosh I just reread what I wrote— it is a good thing that I teach math and not spelling. Next time I will make corrections before I post. G–I can cook and bake but I am certainly not the writer that you are.

  16. Morning Monkees!!! On a trip to Nicaragua a couple of years ago, I met the happiest people I have ever seen. We went on a medical mission trip and traveled by bus out into the very rural part of the country. It was my job to had each child a stuffed toy and love on them after the Dr/Nurse visit. That was a really tough job—but somebody had to do it. One lady walked 2 days with a brand new baby to get to us with her three other young children and was thrilled with being able to get medical care of her children. Although we would probably have called then less fortunate or needy — I came to see they were giving far more to us. On the last night we were there, in the packed out church service, they made a very long line and as we walked down the line we received hugs and love from each person there. I walked down the line with tears streaming down my face and thought about some that came with us that stayed at camp because they didn't want to be hugged for fear of getting lice or being hugs by people with lower hygiene standards that they are used to. I reveled in the love given and realized that those back at camp were the true needy and less fortunate. People without all the material things some think are needed to be happy usually have figured out that just being alive and enjoying that life as well as being grateful are what really make you happy.

  17. Well said G, I like the idea of being a great big messy US, rather than "one of those" people. I've gotten pretty comfortable admitting that I'm all around needy, but still not comfortable with being placed into any sort of category.
    Well done good and faithful Monkees! God Bless you all.

  18. I wish we had a snow globe that we could look in to to see their faces on Christmas Day. Thank you Jennifer and Erin. Thank you Monkees. Thank you Hulls. Merry Christmas. Cindy

  19. Jennifer, that Taylor is something!

    Colleen- what is the deal with Pheobe? I think she was brilliant. Remember Smelly Cat?

  20. This post reminds me of an old Friends episode. Phoebe sets out to prove the boys wrong when they say that giving is selfish since it makes the giver feel good. She tries a bunch of different things and finally realizes at the end that daggonit…giving DOES feel good and therefore the giving is a bit selfish. They never quite come around to saying that there is nothing wrong with feeling good about giving. Frankly, I think God must have designed it that way because we all know that when something feels good, we do more of it!

    Looking forward to the next way the Monkees set out to change the world for the better! :)

  21. That is fantastic! Even though it's not about the number of gifts under the tree it's great that those kids will get so much when they have so little.

    There is one thing that we have decided to start this year, aside from all the charities that we have donated to and the families that we have adopted this Christmas season and I wanted to share it with my Monkees.

    Me and Taylor came up with this idea after watching the last episode of Extremem Home Makeover. Taylor cried for a really long time after watching this episode and seeing all these little kids who didn't have families, who didn't have mothers and who didn't have fathers. She didn't understand the words "foster homes" and that all these children were waiting to be adopted by a loving family. She asked me what she could do, which made me cry even harder.

    So this year after Christmas is over and all the Toys for Tots and all the families adopted for Christmas is over Taylor has decided to go through her closet and get rid of everything that no longer fits her and go through all her good toys and give them away and even more importantly she's going to go through her Christmas gifts and give away some of her new toys. I thought it was a brilliant idea for a 7 year old to come up with and I'm so very proud of her.

    Thank you Jennifer and Erin and it was really great being able to meet Jennifer, who came to my office to pick up our gifts.

    Merry Christmas everyone.

  22. Special, special thanks to our beautiful leaders, Erin and Jennifer. I am very, very grateful for you and all of the monkees who hauled their little bottoms to stores and post offices and jennifer's house.
    I love you.

  23. That is so true to me, Glennon. I agree that there are words and well-worn phrases that create a sense of "more than" or "less than" between people, cause separation, and encourage the ego. None of that is helpful in truly being of service. While we may not have major bling, or money in the bank (money, what's that?), a lot of the time I do feel intense gratitude for my life as I know. It's God-based, family oriented, full of service work and I strive to be humbler than I was when I partied too much.

    On a separate note, I am so very proud and overcome to see the Monkees' hard work for the Hull family. I hope we can do this again, and soon–I wish I had gotten my act together and had had the wherewithall to send something along, too! I am so proud of all of you!

  24. Look at that haul for the Hulls! I'm so happy they will have gifts to open on Christmas morning.

    Beautfully written, G, as always. Love you lots.

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