This is a post that I have been thinking over for the past several weeks. And I haven't attempted to write it yet because, honestly, I have had a hard time finding words for it.
Unbelievable, I know, but I will attempt anyway.
The two word phrase Thank you sounds so trite, so over used...how can I use that phrase...the phrase that you automatically reply with when someone passes you the butter...to explain the depth of my gratitude to the amazing people that have blessed my life?
How can Thank you really answer the selflessness of perfect strangers--literally people that I have never met before and I have no idea how they know me--who have brought meals, gift cards for groceries, and sent tender cards with hopeful messages?
Or to all the people that have kept my family and me in their prayers. That have used their personal time with God to ask Him for blessings for me. Or all the people that have added my name to their prayer circles or their church and temple prayer rolls. When people are exercising faith--something so personal--on my behalf, how can I simply say Thank you and expect that to cover it?
How can Thank you begin explain how my heart was touched when my Friends-who-are-Family from Lincoln, Nebraska did bandanna runs on my behalf? Or when they sent cards and yummy treats and my favorite fingernail polish and a journal to record my thoughts and a book picked out just for me? And not only did they touch my heart this time, but 3 and a half years ago, these same people gave of their time and talents and energy when Miss B was born and in the NICU and then again when she had open heart surgery. They have served me selflessly time and time again and how can Thank you describe the hours spent serving on my behalf?
How can a mere Thank you reach my Friends-who-are-Family in Starkville, Mississippi; who not only took care of my family when we were in desperate need of respite but also taught me all about Southern Hospitality by living it everyday. Friends-who-are-family that gave us a soft place to land when we were physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. And then again when Miss B took her hospital stays and now again, when I needed them to lean on? Who sent me flowers and cards and scarves and cookies and sweet messages filled with faith. And the 8-11 year old girls, who I had the privilege of working with in Primary, who spent their time making me scarves and accessories for my bald head. They are being taught to live lives full of service and I am the recipient of that teaching. How does Thank you cover that?
And to my Iowa friends; how can Thank you state my depth of gratitude for the multiple acts of service--the dinners, the rides, the magazines and things to keep me occupied, the flowers, the things to keep my kids occupied, the friendship, and the more offers of help than I can possibly accept? When friends have taught me how to have "your hearts knit together in unity and love" and are willing to drop everything to come to my aid? And the close friends--that were acquaintances before--that are deeply sewn into my heart by their willingness to serve and share their network of selfless people with me--how can Thank you be enough?
Or to the Friends-who-are-family that I have known forever...some of whom I have known since before I can remember, others from middle school and high school and college and the various places we've lived...that have shown their support and friendship in ways tailored just to me...in ways tailored just to our friendship and have made me smile and laugh in ways no one else could. How does Thank you cover brightening my day and reminding me of happy, carefree times when the present felt gloomy?
And to my extended family--the cousins and aunts and uncles and grandparents--who have sent messages of encouragement and faith. Who have prayed and fasted several times on my behalf. And to my Uncle--who also had a brain tumor removed several years ago--who has called with advice and answered questions and been available to me 24/7. How do you merely say Thank You to those types of personal sacrifices?
And my immediate family--Dr. C's parents drove 15 hours to spend a week taking care of me and carting my children around and making meals and cleaning my house. Or my parents--who have been through brain surgery with my mom--who have known just what we needed, who stayed with Dr. C the entire day of surgery so he wouldn't be alone, and my mom who spent a week taking care of me and my children and kept our crazy schedule going. Does Thank you seem sufficient?
And to my sisters--who have whisked my children away to their homes and mothered them when I couldn't. My little lovies needed tender care and in my absence, my sisters were the ones to do it. They have listened to me when I just needed to talk, have encouraged me when I was discouraged, they have distracted me when my mind was going through Worst Case Scenarios, and they have made me laugh so hard that my sides ached. That is the love of sisters. How do you say Thank you for a bond that can never be broken?
And my Dr. C--the man who has my heart for time and all eternity. Who takes care of me and our children, day in and day out. Who put the 4-leaf-clover pillowcase on my pillow because he thought I needed a little extra luck. And who has scrubbed toilets, made lunches, gone grocery shopping, brought me my medicines and refilled my water cup at all hours of the day and night--and then still got up and cheerfully went to work the next day. Who has done his responsibilities AND my responsibilities, without complaint or grumpiness all while I sit on the couch reading magazines or watching Cardinal baseball because that is all I can do. Who has lost sleep with me, cried with me, prayed with me, and walked forward with faith with me. How do I say Thank you to a man that would sacrifice all for our family, who chose to spend his life at my side, no matter what?
And lastly, to my Heavenly Father, who has poured out blessings on my family. Who guided Dr. Brains hands. Who allowed me to stay on earth to grow old with my husband and to continue to mother my children. Who allowed my left side to keep working. Who sent an amazing hospital staff. Who is continuing to help my body heal. Who took away the overwhelming feelings of fear and filled me with an overwhelming feeling of gratitude. Who sent me the many, many amazing people in my life. I feel undeserving of all the blessings I have received; and Thank you just isn't enough.
The many blessings and the outpouring of love and support that I have received is deeply impressed in my heart. And the ones that I have mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg.
Because of this outpouring, I am inspired to love deeply and to express love more often. I am inspired to find those in need and serve more often--no matter how inconvenient or uncomfortable it might be. I am inspired to give whatever talents I have to make the world a better place. I am inspired to tell people what they mean to me in the moment because you never know if it will be your last chance. I am inspired to uplift those around me, like you all have lifted me, with faith, hope and optimism. I have a new understanding of how a small act of kindness--of selflessness--can make a life-changing impact on someone else's life. You all have done it for me, and I am inspired to do it for others.
I am forever changed.
It will never be enough and I can never repay all that you all have done for me; but I can think of no other words:
The Golden Birthday
4 days ago