THE GIVE-BACK

To all my friends who read…it’s been awhile. Forgive my absence. I haven’t been blogging because I’ve been writing you a book – a very sarcastic, non-sensical, ridiculous, yet sadly factual, comedy book due out in the spring. I’m sorry I broke up with you so abruptly with no warning, but the truth is, I want you back. I have no flowers or chocolates, but consider this 1989 and consider me John Cusack in Say Anything and let these words be my boombox serenade… I need you.

It’s been a crazy few months. I’ve written my first book, been to Haiti, released my debut country album and am currently on a comedy tour. I can hardly believe this is even my life. When I AIN’T DOIN IT first got started I was living a different story. I was working 8 to 5 and mom-ing 25 hours out of everyday. In one fell swoop I had gone from a two-income household, the house, the dog, the kids in public school, you name it – to “how in the world are we going to make it?”. Before, I was the one passing out hope by the bucketful to anyone who would accept it. Five years ago, though, I was the one on the receiving end. I would now know the weight of financial difficulty, of loss, of fear of the future. I would be the one found trapped by rigidity in my feeble attempt that maybe, just maybe, there was one thing within my control. I was the one figuring it out and trying to keep it together when I wanted to fall apart, all the while knowing deep down that somehow, some way, things were going to work out.

Despite what some of you may think from the candor in my videos and the sarcasm that runs deep in my veins, I love people. And loving people in the truest verb tense has always been at the top of my perpetual life goals list. Even in the difficult moments, it’s always been in my heart to give whenever I was able, and to love always.  Don’t get me wrong. I’m human. I can roll my eyes with the best of ’em and have been known to call a sister out when she’s being rude, but at the core of me, I love.
And I love a good give-back.
Giving back looks different for everyone, but for me, no matter how big or how small, it’s an acknowledgement, it’s an explanation and a declaration that says, “You matter. You’re worth it. Nothing in return…”  Once the door to my comedic path opened wide (what, even…), opportunity to do more of what I love presented itself, and it is not a threshold I cross lightly.

Last week, I came back from an eight-day beach vacation with my children and my partner-in-crime/best friend/assistant, Tosha, and her family. My kids played and I laid on the beach like a dead person for seven solid days. The only sounds I cared to take in were the waves, the seagulls and the Indie vibes that were playing in my ears. My plan was to read a book I’ve had on my radar for ages, but because of the nature of my decompression process, and because when good music is playing I have to stop and soak it in like a sponge, I didn’t make it past page 9. I also reached the height of what I would consider remarkable parenting status, as I barely ever knew where my children were the entirety of the time. About once an hour I would try to wake myself from my euphoric state to look around and see if I noticed their sunburned shoulders bobbing in the water, in the hopes that surely if they were drowning someone would’ve told me.

As I laid on that beach, day after day, my mind played old tapes of where I had once been and of how one accidental video now allowed my heart room to breathe. I felt the vacancy in my life where fear and worry once staked their claim. I remembered where I was and how I felt when I was fighting the war and compared it to how I felt in that very moment – at peace. I remembered the struggle and the cycle and the anxiety of doing it alone and I remembered you – the one who’s still in it. The one who doesn’t see a light at the end of their tunnel. The one who will most inevitably come out the victor but doesn’t know it yet. You – the one who is choking back the tears as you read these words that sit heavy on your chest. The one who cries yourself to sleep wishing and praying for any kind of breakthrough.
You.
I thought of you.
I remembered you.
And I laid there next to Tosha and we talked it out and we cried for injustice and for parents and children who just needed a break. We soaked up the sun and the love and the reality that we were finally in a place to do something about it, if only for one right now, at least that’s something. So, right there in all the talks and the thoughts and the internal fight for what’s right, the give-back presented itself. “Let’s give somebody what we once needed. Let’s love. Nothing in return.” And in that conversation, we decided to send a single parent and their children on vacation.

Hear me – this is not about me or Tosha. And this is not some sick display of false humility or some manipulation tactic.  I don’t want your attention or your accolades.
I just want you to do the same.
You may not be able to give away a beach vacation yet, but I just bet you can give something. I bet you can give a hug or take someone to lunch or listen to someone’s story over coffee. I bet some of you can help turn a single parent’s lights back on or buy someone’s groceries. Opportunity will likely come to you each and every day. And she will look you dead in the eyes and ask you if you’re ready – if you’re willing. Willing to look foolish, to break routine, to lay down pride, to give selflessly in your own time of need. And you get to answer.
You get to choose. But let me promise you this – if your answer is yes, your reward will most definitely be greater than your sacrifice. When your head hits your pillow at night and your heart is pure and full of peace and empathy and your conscience is clean knowing you loved well that day, that is the ultimate reward. It’s not the size of the gift you give. It’s the heart behind it.

And to those of you who are still in that cycle that you think will never end – the ones who want to love but can barely love themselves – the ones who are crawling through the valley right now, know this. Your knees will not be muddy forever. There is a clearing and a light and one day you will stand up and it will lead out. You are not finished.  Don’t let bitterness and resentment hold you under water. Throw your head back, tell it no and show it who you are. Show life and everybody in it that you will love in spite of circumstance. With everything in me, this is what I believe – this is what we are made for.  We are made for the give-back.

28 thoughts on “THE GIVE-BACK”

  1. I just saw Heather on tour and all I can say is I have a new found love for this woman. I love this heartfelt message. Just 2 days ago I gave money to a domestic violence shelter for a new washer – and when Heather says even if you do something small just do it -please -it will make you feel amazing. Even the smallest gestures can and does make a difference in others lives.
    Thank you Heather for sharing your journey, your heart, and Christ with the world.

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  2. You are the best-I enjoy your sense of humor and go back and look at post that I have seen a million times and still laugh!! Thanks for giving of yourself. You make the world a better place. God bless you!!

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  3. wow. you read me to a T today. My son goes back to his dads for a week today. a week that I find myself dreading every single week because these days it seems to be all that I can look forward to is the day he comes back home. I’ve put in literally a million applications or at least it feels that way. I’m coming up on a very difficult time in my life in the next couple of weeks. I turn 35 on the 30th. Most say young but my step dad thinks different. That doesn’t sound depressing except in 2016, my biological father died July 22 and my best friend, my mother, died two weeks later on august 3rd. Just to add “fuel to the fire”, my ex husband left me for the “love” of his life, his 28 year old girlfriend that I have to smile and send my son to every other week. No one told me that life was easy but Im positive they left this part of life out on purpose. I just want you to know that you give me inspiration. Reading your blogs, I can somehow believe that life might not always be this hard. The pain my chest won’t always be here. One day, I will find my place in this world and just maybe it will be worth the wait.. until then, please keep making me laugh through the pain and thank you for reminding me to keep my head up.

    Kimberly

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  4. Are you my daughter??
    I believe exactly as you do and I practice it. I also share with others so they will be kind to others. I was a single mom for 24 years. I have instilled this values in them too.
    We saw you in Kansas City. Not only did I enjoy your comedy but your voice is amazing.
    Thank you for sharing your gifts that God gave to you.

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  5. Heather, this is one powerful and heartfelt blog post. I am fortunate that I am happily married and have two amazing grown children and recently acquired the sweetest and kindest son-in-law on the planet. I, though, will take your advice and look for small but meaningful things I can do for those in need. God Bless you! Ginger PS I love your videos!

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  6. For those of us that found what we needed in you (inspiration, laughter and focus on faith) … I would wager millions of us have a void left from the departure of Women of Faith; our annual pilgrimage to an event that provided restoration, connection and fulfillment. My “Give Back Challenge” to you (with your notoriety, talent, relationships and followers) is to BUILD something to replicate WOF.

    I know you are touring …. GROW that to an annual event that can truly change lives! I miss my Porch Pals, but see pioneers like you and Anita Renfro quite capable of carrying the torch and revitalizing such an impactful platform to serve our generation, and those behind us!

    There is definite white space here, not to mention demand. How rewarding would it be to serve that need again?

    And if you need soldiers to help carry out that mission, let me know!

    Steph

    Stephanie Reid

    Executive Vice President

    Shelby Publishing Co., Inc.

    Cell: 678-520-4949

    Twitter: StephAtShelby

    Theshelbyreport.com

    http://www.theshelbyreport.com/subscribe/

    A board member of

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  7. You. You, Heather Land, are an inspiration, an encouragement and a balm to the soul. (And you have me in TEARS, again!) This opportunity was given to you because LOOK at what you do with it!! I have been blessed by you in so many ways, but your words touch my heart and move me to DO MORE. I am in the trenches myself, but so blessed by a support system that keeps us going…there is plenty I can do to help my fellow humans along, and I will look for those opportunities more. Thank you, you wonderful, human, real woman…you are a gift to humanity and single Mama’s everywhere!!! ❤❤❤

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  8. I’m not a single parent, nor am I a parent. But what you do is just amazing. Every chance I get to watch a video I am rolling on the floor. Thank you. Your life events are touching others in a way you don’t know. Keep making those videos and we’ll keep watching.

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  9. I love this post and consider you an enormous inspiration. I have been following you for a while on Instagram, and you make my days much brighter. My parents left my brother and me with a stranger at a hotel in Reno, in 1981, so they could go gamble at the casino before breaking up weeks later. I promise – you are doing great!!

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  10. Love 💕is the way 💖giving is the reward 💞you are amazing Ms. Land love you 💋keep doing you 🙏you inspire me and others💕 thank you

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  11. My heart is filled with laughter, love and joy after reading this ❤️🙏👑👑👑💗. I loved your ministry before and you, now, I love you more. God bless you and your family 🙏🙏🙏❤️👑. God bless Tosha🙏💗. My best friend is heartbroken and so clode at times, to ending it all😢. Her name is Paula and she loves you too❤️🙏. God help us all that are heartbroken and have been hungry, afraid, broke and didn’t know what to do next. I’m 3 years out of an abusive marriage and only Jesus brought me through🙏❤️👑👑👑👑

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  12. Thank you for this… I’ve been there, crawling through the muck that seemed to keep sucking me in. I agree that doing for others is truly a way to pull yourself out. I will continue to do so. No matter what I think they deserve. You keep making us laugh and showing us that love and laughter can overcome the muck ❤️

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  13. I believe one cannot help others without knowing what it is like to receive help. Your trials have prepared you for what you do now. I too went through periods that I felt despair only to rise to give to others and claim the glory to God. In this day and age of instantaneous things, role models and inspiration are needed more than ever. Bless you for having no fear and for moving forward knowing that some will criticize and hate.

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  14. Thank you for the reminder, Heather.
    Life is all about the “give-backs”.
    I try to do this when the opportunity arises, in small ways, because I have been so very blessed in a 45 year marriage,
    to a man who loves his job, and would give the shirt off his back to a friend (or stranger) in need.
    Life is so much more precious when we APPRECIATE what we have and share what we can.
    Loved your show in Indy, and making my way to Joliet when you get there.
    Keep the laughs coming!

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  15. Heather Land, you are an inspiration. I just quit my job and am sitting home enjoying myself but I am not giving back to anyone. I work at Assisted Living with Alzheimer’s residents and usually feel like I am doing something for someone. The thing is, whatever I think I am doing for these people, they are doing much, much more for me. I’d come home from work feeling so loved. I wasn’t happy where I work so I left, but now that I’ve read what you have written about giving back, I guess I’d better get back to work and give something of myself to someone. I feel very unfulfilled right now. I’m glad you have pulled yourself out of the mud, I did it myself when I quit drinking 26 years ago and when I went through my divorce. I understand. Life is bearable now and happy. I’m glad you are happy and fulfilled and I adore your writings and I will read your book when it comes out. Thanks for everything you give…

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  16. Thanks for the loving shout out. I am one of your biggest fans and hope to catch you on tour one day and just laugh my azz off. I will settle for the TV special too or the cartoon series.

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  17. I found you at a time when i didnt think laughter was possible for me again.you had me in tears so many times over the past month since i found you from laughing so hard..i. Download Snapchat and spents a few hrs talking to my self and it had me in tears..ive never laughed so hard in my life.ty . ty.

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