Sunday, October 31, 2010

Spiritual Sunday - Gratitude

I saw this post over on Serene's page last week.  I decided to take her challenge and for the next several days pondered over the many acts of kindness and love that have been shown me throughout my life that I could post about.  I have once again come to the realization that I am a woman blessed beyond anything I have ever deserved.  So many things, so many people, so many blessings. 
(I even swiped your image Serene - of which she swiped from google)

So with all the memories that I've been thinking back on, which one to write about?

The Christmas right after my Dad died and there was a secret santa that left bags and bags of presents for us on our front porch Christmas eve?

The many meals that came in when I herniated the disc in my lower back when the boys were babies and I needed so much help?

The time I watched a friend die right in front of me at my office and the kind cards, calls and food that came simply because someone knew I was traumatized?

The years of notes, cards, and hugs that came to me spontaneously from someone else, but clearly inspired when someone knew my heart was hurting as a Mother?

The kind comments that began after I started blogging and the friends that came into my life because of it?

The runs to the Sev for my diet brown bubbly, the skittles, the pj's, the phone calls and texts of encouragement  after my stress fracture last year?

I could go on and on it seems, but the one particular instance always comes back to me.  It is something I will never forget and I have used it many a time as an analogy in life.

The scene is this:  Splenda and I were heavily involved in little league baseball for YEARS!  Like a decade or so.  From the the time 'dawg started until the time Tuffy finished.  We lived our lives at the ball park.  We served on the board for most of those years.
In my particular capacity, I was responsible for fundraising and therefore had access to the bank accounts and knew our finances.  For a time, there was some quiet speculation on how the league's funds were being spent.  One year it came to a head, and I was the one to discover that our president and his wife had been taking all the money.  We had enough to run the league at a bare minimum, but they took the rest.
They were our friends, they were people that we saw and talked with every single day.  The rest of the board as well.  I was faced with a decision.  Tell and ruin their lives or keep quiet, and hope that no one else found out and in the process get myself into legal trouble.
If you know me, you know what I did.
It hurt.  It was awful.  As all the legal proceedings began I was a wreck.  I couldn't sleep.  I cried most every night.  I felt destroyed and incapable of anything.  The whole mess was all-consuming.  It's all Splenda and I could talk about.  There began a division of people on the board.  People who I thought were my friends showed their true loyalty colors and they weren't to me or to what the right thing to do was.
I began to want to hide in my home, and give up many of the things that made me happy.

At the time, I was serving as the young women's camp director for our ward.  It was just too much.  I could barely drag myself to church let alone serve anyone.  For once in my life, I went to my Bishop, unloaded my problems and asked to be released.  I gave a recommendation for a new camp director and left feeling like even though, I was letting go of a major burden, I was also letting so many other people down.  Yet again.

Why am I giving so much detail?  Just to set the scene of how much inner turmoil I was dealing with.  I hadn't been in that dark, and stressful of a place emotionally since I suffered PPD after my first born.

And then......the mercy, the kindness, the love.

I was leaving my home for work one morning and as I was backing out of the garage, color on my left caught my eye.
I looked over and my entire flower bed had been weeded, raked, and then planted with some beautiful yellow and gold flowers.  What the???  I put the car in park, got out and crossed the lawn to the flower bed.  They were beautiful.  I noticed a note on the door.  As I opened it and read the love words, I started to cry.  It was not signed, but a few inside jokes gave it away and I knew immediately who had done this most kind deed.

At the time she had no idea what was going in, she just saw me suffering.  She knew I was a wreck, but didn't have any details.  Instead of gossiping or talking behind my back, she simply loved me and expressed it.
At some point early that morning, she got down on her hands and knees in my dirt, pulled the weeks, raked it over, and then dug small holes and placed something of beauty.
I think of that still.  I picture her in her sweats, her garden gloves on and trying to be oh so quiet.  Carefully loving me without making any noise.  Creating something of beauty for me to look at every day, and be reminded that everything was going to be okay.
A true friend, is one who helps to get rid of your weeds, rake you over to show your good side, and then help you become something of beauty.  They are not afraid of your dirt.

She needed no recognition.  Yet, my gratitude to her will never end.  I will LOVE her until the day I die and beyond
Her kindness towards me has sealed my love and affection for her.  She didn't do it seeking the world's appreciation.  She did it because she loved me and knew I needed something.  The feelings I had then,now  and forever are the epitome of Gratitude.

Since then, I could spend pages and pages detailing her other acts of service to me and my family.  And to others.  I've never known anyone who so willingly serves others.  Most of the time anonymously. 
 I love her.

Thanks Serene for the challenge.

Thanks Deb - you know you have my undying love, devotion, and loyalty.

Now, I extend the same Challenge Serene did.  You know you have much to be grateful for.


Pedaling said...

Thanks for sharing the details of such an experience. I am inspired to look, more often to those times when a hurting heart is in need of some love and attention.

Lara said...

I love this. I want to be like your friend the Grandma Gypsie. People like that amaze me.

tammy said...

Love this. So often I know people are hurting, but aren't sure what to do. I need to be more tuned to the Spirit.

" Hit It......." said...

This was an incredible post. It brought me to tears. It inspires me to do something for someone else. Your a great friend!

Missy said...

Crying! Thanks for sharing all of these examples of Love! I, too, am now moved to share some Love!

Mrs. Organic said...

I've known someone like this, she always seemed to know just what was needed and when. I've tried to be more like her and listen to those little whisperings and ACT on them. Thank you for this post and reminder.

And I would've done the same thing you did. Truth and right always needs a champion.

wendy said...

wow, what a great post(as I try and type this through tears in my friggin eyes)
Through Service and thereby Gratitude.........we LEARN so much and are so humbled.

I totally could "feel ya" over friends leaving you and taking sides. After my decision to leave and come up here (making a 3rd marriage for me) wow, some friends started dropping like flies.
They didn't stop to ask why
didn't take time to understand
didn't want to "wipe away the dirt" (as you used in that analogy)
didn't want to offer love and hope
for me
still haven't
and..........I still suffer for it.
kinda sucks

but I LOVED this post

Serene is my name, not my life! said...

Oh girl, thanks so much for sharing! Truly, that was an amazing story.

And the part where you said, "instead of gossiping or talking behind my back" really hit home for me.
I have recently been notified of some horrible gossip and slander that has spread through my ward about me based on a misperception on someone's part of a particular incident. It was so way-off base it's not even funny. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about how easy it was for people to pass on false information.

It's been hard for me to swallow. So yes, I would indeed say, that is a true friend.