One of the wonderful problems we are struggling with is being sure to say “Thanks” to folks who support us. And I mean “support” literally. We want to thank the people who are holding us up. This is a problem for us for several reasons. First, we just forget. Or we get busy. So many people approach us with so many different helpful things it’s just hard to remember it all. Let me give you a few examples just from yesterday.
Our local community hosted a benefit dinner for Wendy. During that dinner families in our community came together to make and serve soup, wash dishes, sell t-shirts…who did this? Not any one person. The whole town. One of my dad’s brothers calls me every Sunday at noon while he has lunch with my grandma. He is just calling to check on our daughter. He called during the benefit yesterday. Mom’s brother came to the benefit yesterday. He made it a point to relate to our daughter personally by comparing chemo stories. How do I say thanks for all that and remember the person who took out the trash?
The second reason it is a problem is because we need to make the best use of the resources shared with us. We have to be good stewards. Our daughter is a sick little girl. She is getting the best medical care in the world and the best medical care in the world is not cheap. And insurance doesn’t cover gas, food, wear and tear…you get the idea. So, as Mrs. Reid patiently explained to me yesterday, we really need to be focused on making sure our finances are sound and our daughter is loved, not on writing and sending thank you cards.
So what do we actually do?
We care for our little girl. That’s what we do. But the time will come when our opportunity will change. The time will come when we are helping to host a benefit dinner for another family in need.
I reached my saturation point Sunday afternoon. It was all too much. Too many families missing football. Too many people making soup. Too many people stretched in a line out the door. Too many dishes being washed. Three generations of two separate families were easily identified on the front lines yesterday and I had no idea, really, who else was involved behind the scenes. So I asked. And I started to say thanks. And it was all deflected.
The universal response was, “It’s wasn’t me!”
“Oh, no. I didn’t order the t-shirts. That was all so-and-so.”
“No, we are just carrying bowls of soup. Those folks in the kitchen are the ones working.”
Then, to compound the issue, someone said, “Chris, what you need to do is keep writing your blog.” There are things I do that I don’t fully understand. My blog is one of those things. I sometimes don’t know why I do this. Maybe to publicize my own ignorance.
I started a blog because I wanted to learn how to write. But I wanted to learn how to write because a friend made a time investment in me through phone calls and emails. She wanted me to grow. To explore. To learn and to share. She encouraged me to write. Four years ago she passed away. Four years ago I began my blog. Linda Brady Traynham deserves all credit for that. But she was just one person. One influential person. And every time I write I remember the friendship we shared…even if only briefly.
Remember where I was yesterday…beyond saturation. Too much blessing. Too many people. Too many unknowns. And the straw that broke the camel’s back, if I can be the camel in this metaphor (and I think I can), is someone deflecting praise and complimenting my blog when I just want to say thanks to somebody. Anybody.
Heck, I’ll say it to you. Thanks.
Thank you for reading this. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for praying. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for showing my daughter your own chemo port so she doesn’t feel like a freak. Thank you for giving us gas cards. Thank you for ordering t-shirts. Thank you for understanding when I need time off. Thank you calling on Sunday. Thank you for asking her if she wakes up without feeling rested. Thank you for the plush kitty and blanket. Thank you for the knit hats, the window paint and the balloon animals. Thank you for bringing your service dog to Children’s hospital so it can jump up on her bed and give her some snuggle time. Thank you for washing your hands. Thank you for making us a lasagna. Thank you for the puzzles and paints and stickers and friendship bracelets and books. Thank you for broccoli and cheese soup. Thank you for baking cookies with the other kids, taking them to youth group and helping them with the chores. Thank you for picking me up at the car repair shop even though it made you late for work.
Julie and I are so thankful.
The only way we can see to repay your kindness, though it is not expected of us, is to serve our community. To look for opportunities to serve and encourage in the future. Either to ease the burden on another family in need or just to make an investment in a new friend as Linda did with me. We see so much need at Children’s Hospital. But those needs exist here at home too. There are people in need right here. People who need help caring for a sick child and people who need to be encouraged to try something scary like actually hitting the publish button. I can do those things. And that, I think, is how we say thanks.
But we also just say it.
And Mrs. Reid, the blog is almost free…other than the hour it took to write this early Monday morning and the annual domain registration. This was a lot easier than sending a bunch of cards. Thanks for the reminder.
Thanks also to my dad, my cousin and my cousin’s son who helped me bring the cows home from a night’s adventure after the deer knocked down the fence.
I can’t even begin to comprehend how difficult your life must be right now, but I’m awestruck and happy for you and your family at the support you are getting from your community. It is truly amazing and heartwarming.
I wonder how often those who do something for you enjoy it as much as I did baking cookies. The Bible Study group I go to filled 32 or 33 plates with cookies for people in our communities. I delivered a few and enjoyed visiting with old friends in nursing homes. Helping others can be its own reward. 😉
Sometimes it is needed and good to let others have the blessing of helping you. Good and needed yes, but also sometimes difficult. Blessings.
I agree with the others above. Being helpful makes people feel good, and less helpless as they witness your challenges. And I think you’re right, the way to show your appreciation is to pay it forward as the opportunity arises. That’s how the world should work. I too am happy for you that your community is wrapping itself around you like that. Awesome in every way. Wish I was closer to be part of all that, but at least those of us “out here” can be listeners, a wailing wall of sorts.