"I want to point the camera and smile at you."
When Jory (my oldest son) was five he would say this, wanting to use my camcorder to take a video of me. Even now, more than twenty years later, I hear the sentence in his sweet five-year-old voice.
I hear it in part because I have remembered it so often, holding it close the sound has yet to disappear from my memory. But also because that is still, more than twenty years later, who Jory is and how he likes to view the world.
From his earliest years, Jory has loved to see the world and the people in it as part of one connected movie. Everyone plays a part and is written in for a reason. Over the years he has grown this vision into something extraordinary. From being too bossy (he was the writer and director of his brothers, he was quite sure!) to being too laid back (whatever happens, happens and it's all groovy man) to fighting for his right to choose happiness even though the world is filled with war and hunger (he wrote about that HERE) to now, as a father of three and husband to one, he sees his role as all of the above and mixes it up as best he can.
He is writing and directing his story, but his story is not only his own and so he asks and allows the narratives of others to influence his. Not only that, he also reaches out and asks for help. Ideas. Collaboration.
This is how he sees the world: We are all here together experiencing this epic story and it is incumbent upon us to be both inclusive and decisive. Know your goal well and invite others to help you get there. Jory has a way of believing in his independence and responsibility while not shying away from reaching for support from others.
He loves to bring a team together and inspire everyone to share their strengths, ideas, and hard work - something he does well as a movie theater manager. (He misses it for sure! Movie theaters are still closed due to COVID-19.)
At the moment he's using his skill as a gatherer of community and support to help his family find a home.
They are not homeless. And in truth, they don't have to be homeless even if they can't quite find something before their current living situation disappears. However, family help options are slimmer than usual and not the forward motion he and his family are working toward. (A strange and wonderful shifting of places is happening everywhere in my family. It's exciting! But because we are all in this unique transition there is less reliable space to offer.)
The home he and his family are living in at the moment is my mom's home. However, it will no longer be hers by the end of the summer (which, by the way, is exciting! She and my brother Dar are embarking on an RV life adventure!) and so Jory, his wife, his daughters and soon-to-be born son are looking for something affordable in the area. Admittedly, they are happy to move away from the area if Jory can transfer to a Regal Cinema near a new home. But he truly does love his location and the people he works with.
And, as is Jory's beautiful way, he is reaching out and inviting us to play a role in this story!
He created a GoFundMe fundraiser, in hopes that the financial burden of first and last rent, rent applications, and moving in general, can be shared.
He and his wife are reaching out to everyone they know to ask for ideas, advice, and recommendations.
|Jory's fundraiser: A Home for our Family|
Admittedly, they are nervous. Transitions tend to create anxiety even in the best and easiest of times, but when you are trying to find a home for your family and start on an unknown brand new journey (not only will this be the first time they live together as a family without other family members there to help, all the helpful family members are in transitions of their own and will likely be quite far away) the anxiety threatens to turn into full-blown paralyzing fear that leaves you sitting around hoping your mom will swoop in and fix everything. (Or, wait. Is that just me? Maybe I shouldn't have said that out loud. tee hee!)
Well, this is me - his mom - swooping in and not fixing everything but asking if you are able to play a role in this story and help us build something: a home for his family out of a community of characters that cares.
If you are able to contribute something financially, thank you! If you can share the fundraiser on your social media, or in an email to someone you know, thank you! If you have ideas, experience, thoughts that might help them find a safe place to live, thank you! They are hoping to stay in the Simi Valley, California area (again, that's where the Regal Jory works at is) but are happy to move elsewhere. This is an exciting time in their lives and beginning somewhere new could be part of the Universe's plan. It's hard to know. This movie is not yet at its end. And we are not unaware that creating something beautiful is always possible and not location dependant.
Regardless of whether or not you are able to take an action we can see, I trust you - who have read along - are playing a part in this story. And for that, I thank you!
In the words of five-year-old Jory:
"I want to point the camera and smile at you."
Hugs, smiles, and love!!
Autism Answers with Tsara Shelton (Facebook)
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Link to Jory's GoFundMe: Fundraiser by Jory Shelton
If you want to email Jory with ideas or recommendations: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you'd like to connect with him on Facebook: Jory Shelton