Life is both happy and sad, peppered with hilarities and heartaches alike.

If you can think, breathe and feel, no one escapes the ebb and flow of very real, raw, and authentic feelings.

Because we are human…
our hearts open,
our hearts close.

That’s why we need one another

to love

to lean on

to listen to

to lend hope.

On those days when we feel perplexed by life, physically exhausted, lonely or stressed beyond what feels humanly possible, undoutedly someone –possibly even a stranger–stands in the gap, catches us before we fall and gives us a thread of hope that tomorrow will be a much better day.

People all around us are Standing in the Gap.

They are our neighbors, our co-workers, a sister, an uncle, a parent, a spouse or even a stranger. They are nurses, teachers, pastors, caregivers, and volunteers; individuals who are often willing to sacrifice time, energy, money, and even their dreams so that another person may live theirs.

Several years ago, I had the privilege to stand in the gap for a young troubled teen named Maddy. I wasn’t sure how I could ever give Maddy hope that her life would get better.   I was only sure I had to try.  I began to remember when I was a young girl of 16 and how I had wished I had someone to talk to that would listen to me and not judge me; someone who would love and accept me no matter what.  That’s when I knew I had to give Maddy a promise  she could leave on her nightstand as a reminder she, too, was loved.  The “promise” would be given to her in the form of a small hand-tied and hand-lettered book: At the heart of this little book is a promise. It’s a promise from me to you  and it goes like this:  If you ever need someone to talk to, someone who will listen, just call me.  Call me early or call me late. Just call me!  Filling the rest of the pages with words of encouragement and nutrition for Maddy’s heart and soul, I called the book Eat Your Peas for Young Adults.

The ripple effect of that one simple outreach, a simple book with a promise inspired by Maddy, has impacted nearly a million lives. Today, along with the promise, each of the twelve titles in the Eat Your Peas Collection says, “I love you, I believe in you, your life matters to me.” Isn’t that something we all yearn to know and believe?

Today Maddy is a vibrant, wise and loving wife. After all, we can all get by (and through) with a little help from our friends.  Sometimes we just need someone to stand in the gap.

Peas and joy,

Cheryl Karpen