This week has been mighty challenging.

A 14 year-old "at-risk" kid is now living with my family in one of the whitest suburbs of Chicago. Our races really make no difference, although if I were a teenager in these circumstances - surrounded by no one who looks or acts like me - I'd probably feel isolated.

We've enlisted the advice of friends, professionals (and my ever-supportive mom) and most people think my hubby and I are nuts to do this. We've known this kid since he was five and we knew him before all the forces of his neighborhood and upbringing had a real effect, influencing in him in ways too painful to watch. So we stepped in at a time when he needed someone. Desperately.

Or maybe we stepped in too late.

I've spent the last week during this transition feeling sort of stupid and anxious and stressed and wondering why on earth my oft naive, humanitarian heart takes on things I probably can't handle. My friend wrote me this today:

"When I'm ready to quit from the stress (of organizing a huge philanthropic event) each year, I tell myself I can afford to sacrifice a little of my privileged convenience and comfort and that's about the only thing that gets me through. Reminding myself it wouldn't kill me to actually sacrifice for the benefit of others :)"

Thanks to her today for helping me feel lighter and seeing that maybe this act of kindness and hospitality will change one life for the better. And thanks to my many friends who've pointed out that seeing the hope and potential of a troubled, neglected, bright yet academically-and-law-abidingly-challenged kid will put my life into perspective and maybe someday bring me and my family great joy.

I'm looking very forward to working on a big fundraising country club event this weekend. What would usually be pretty challenging, work-wise, is actually a welcome respite, providing perspective on what we are hopefully doing for another soul.


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