Sunday, June 27, 2010

Reaching Out

The other day, my friend Judy and I sat on the beach watching our kids play.  It was one of those rare moments when everyone was happily busy, even our almost 2 year olds, and so we were talking.  Uninterrupted, grownup talk.
Judy asked me, "so how are you doing?"
"Oh we're fine," I began.  And then I launched into the typical blather I offer when people ask me that: kids, sleeping, Aaron's work, busy, you know the stuff.
"No," Judy asked, "I mean, how are you doing?"

Then I knew what she meant.  And I was a little surprised.  It has been 5 months.  I don't feel like I should talk about it anymore.  
But I am so glad, so very glad she asked.

It is hard to do that sometimes--to reach out and ask for people to bear their heart before you.  It might be uncomfortable, it might mean tears, it might mean sadness or even anger.  It means taking a little extra time and we all know that is a precious commodity.

I have thought about that a lot in the days since my miscarriage.  I have thought about the people who stopped by to bring notes, a plant, cards or flowers.  How much their kindness meant to me.  Even more appreciated than the actual gift they brought over  was the time spent making it, going to the store to get it and then coming out of their way to bring it to my house.  Believe me, I know that driving 10 or 15 minutes out of the way can be a really big deal.  Especially when it is nap time, or dinner time, or you have to get to the grocery store, or, or, or.  There are always so many things on our plate, things we have to do, that one extra thing is often more than we can do.

This is where I often find myself.  I intended to do it.  I had such grand plans.  I had the best intentions.  But then, I forgot.  Or today wasn't a good day.  And so time goes on and I find that I have done nothing and then I feel it is certainly too late, and I haven't reached out at all.  
But you know what?  It is never too late.

Not too long ago I got an email from a friend.  We haven't seen each other since junior high, but reconnected on Facebook.  She shared with me about her own miscarriage and told me about a website she knew of that wrote your due date in the sand and photographed it.  A way to remember that life that was not fully lived.
She expressed her intentions to write sooner, but I didn't mind that she had waited.  I was touched that she took the time to write at all.  Just like out mothers always told us, it is the thought that counts.

Shortly after that, a note arrived in the mail.  Another friend offering words of comfort, encouragement and love.  Something she said resonated with me.  She said she had meant to write earlier and time got away from her.  She felt like it was too late, but then she realized that "a kind word is always appreciated, even if it is a little late."

How true.  I didn't care when Nicole's card arrived.  I cared that she sent one.  I cared that she sat down and wrote to me and put a stamp on the envelope and mailed it.  I cared that she remembered.
I vowed to remember her words and the way her note made me feel, and to not let the passage of time put a stop to my good intentions.

Tangible signs of our love and concern for others are awfully important.  It is very easy to offer an, "I'll pray for you,"  Sadly this is often an empty promise.  I know it is for me.  I am learning to stop and pray, right then, when I say I'll pray, so it is more than words.
But I think I can do more than speak words.
I wrote about all this before.  But I needed a reminder.  
I want to put my love into action.

These thoughts have been swirling in my head for some time now.  But after Judy allowed me the space to open my heart, to really tell her how I feel, not judging or trying to fix, or offering platitudes, just listening, things became clearer than ever.
Reaching out to others is not easy.  It requires we give of ourselves.  That might mean time, energy, resources or a listening ear.  It might mean swallowing our pride that we allowed months to pass and still haven't brought by that loaf of banana bread.
But it is worth it.
Because kindness is appreciated.  Deeply.

I saw this on one of my favorite blogs, Blessed Little Nest.  You can find the original post here.  It is a pretty great project.  However you chose to approach it, you can do so much to brighten some one's day by showing kindness.  Your simple act of kindness might be the thing that helps them get through their day.
There were many times that a kindness did that for me.

I encourage you to take a look and see how your world might change by reaching out with kindness.
Let His kindness be your model:
"Thy loving kindness is better than life"
Happy Monday, friends.  
Love from,


Betsi* said...

Greta, this so spoke to me today! I love you and everything you are doing, not only for your kids but for all us other moms who acknowledge the heart that God gave us to mother.
Thank you for being there for me when I needed someone else to express how I felt but couldn't find the words.
I love you so much!

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord! May we never grow weary in caring for others and taking on their burdens. I know your hurt and love you today!!!

Lori said...

What a great call to action! I'm a "words of affirmation" girl so kind words mean a lot to me, but I believe that everyone appreciates that kind of encouragement (and a letter in the mail that is not a bill!) from time to time. Thanks for reminding me of this - it can be so hard to know how to respond when a friend is in need. Have a great weekend!