You know, it is funny how you can mention something, be praying about or thinking about it and then suddenly, marvelously, things happen. In a previous blog post this week I wrote:
"We have someone in our life right now, someone whose entire body cries out to us and speaks of loneliness. This person is so filled with despair and resignation that it is almost painful to be near them, for you do not know what to do in the face of such dejection. How I wish I knew how to reach that person's soul, to bring a little light into the eyes of someone I know is in great pain in many different ways. And yet I have failed there, I am too afraid of being rebuffed, too uncertain of knowing what would be the right approach, and if being honest I am too scared that what I see there might be myself someday."
This is someone we see once a week, someone whom I have yet to really see smile in the several months we have been around them. This person is not at all crabby or rude. They are sorrowful, they are struggling each day to put one foot in front of the other. This week, this special Valentine's celebration of love that our family strangely seems to be having, that changed. I should have known it could, even if only for a brief time.
I have never said much in front of the boys about my perceptions regarding this person's inner unhappiness, which admittedly is probably brought on for very real and obvious reasons which I will not discuss here. And yet somehow my introspection's and concern of earlier this week were addressed in a small way. Sometimes it is the baby steps. Sometimes it is a group effort. This person walked in our home this week, and much to my surprise each of the boys hugged them...a first for all of them and not planned or discussed. I was just as surprised as this person was, and the glimmer of a smile appeared and they said "Wow, how nice!". Later, Joshie emerged from his bedroom with a handmade Valentine as this person was leaving, complete with a nickel included...his gift for someone he instinctively somehow knew needed to feel cared for. It was carefully opened, read, and tucked back inside and then it came, a real smile.
Perhaps those who have visited that very lonely place can recognize another visitor there. Joshie has been there...he may be young but he has a heart that has a big band aid on it too.
As our friend got into the car, I felt the urge to lean in and give a gentle squeeze. It was unexpected and yet something I had not felt would have been accepted prior. As I pulled away, for just a moment I could see who this person must have been at one time, there was a tenseness that slipped away for just a second. I eased the car door shut and wished I had more to offer. But for the first time, I felt at least as if I had done something, even if it was a tiny little gesture. Who knows, over time, maybe we might get to see that smile a little more often.
Our Valentine's Week has been great. It was totally unplanned to have an extended celebration but that is how it has worked out and I think we are done for now, even though the holiday really isn't until tomorrow.
Friday night we had our adopted Grandpa over for dinner and a mean game of Scrabble. The boys decided to make him a couple of Valentine's notes and to leave him a now infamous holiday "Bathroom Bulletin" of his very own. I am sure he felt honored :-) Hahaha! I always enjoy visiting with our dear friend, and one of these days I swear I will FINALLY beat him at Scrabble, and when I do (don't hold your breath) I will find some glorious way to celebrate because the odds are stacked way against me.
Today the boys and I had a special guest, our Ms. Joan. She is our Social Worker and a close friend, and today she was treated to lunch at Chez LaJoy. The boys decided they wanted to make lunch, so decided upon the delectable menu selections of quiche...and chili dogs. Don't ask, I know it will be a meal combo she will never forget. They made their grocery list and we went to the store where they found everything, came home, unloaded the car, and started their kitchen magic. They actually did almost everything themselves, including decorating the house and table for Valentine's Day. They were so excited and loved every minute of it, with Matthew even going out to dig in the shed for our Christmas candle centerpiece because it was red and he thought it would look nice. We even had streamers in pink! Although it certainly wasn't a gourmet meal, it was created with a lot of love and they had a great time planning everything...and again leaving yet another new Bathroom Bulletin.
Tonight we actually are alone...all alone...and what are we doing? Hanging out on the computer! Actually Dominick is now asleep, but earlier while the boys are spending the night at a brave friends house who actually wanted all 3 of them to come over, we went to our church's first movie night where we saw a really great film called "King of California". Wow, I wish all movies were this thought provoking and good! We found it and many others on a web site called http://www.spiritualcinemacircle.com/ where they put together DVD's of shorts and full length feature films that are spiritually oriented or touch on such themes. We saw two shorts and the full length film tonight and am really looking forward to future films. This one, while it had some foul language in it that was not necessarily gratuitous, was an amazing film which both Dominick and I walked away from feeling as if we had really seen something worthwhile. Can't wait for next month's film!
I am kind of considering our Valentine's over, as tomorrow night we are watching 3 little guys for a friend of ours so we won't be going out or anything. But I am wondering of God has anything else up his sleeve for the day tomorrow, if The Sweetheart Fest will continue and we will stumble across yet another wonderful time spent giving or receiving love. I received my special Valentine's Day gift today in the car as we were driving for our grocery purchases. Somehow we drifted into conversation about what Kenny has learned from each of us over the past year and a half. He told me "You learned me how to be a kid, you told me I didn't have to be the boss anymore. I LIKE being a kid!"...and from Joshua a few minutes later "Momma, you taught me how to love. I didn't want to love anyone before you and I was really mad. But not anymore, I love everyone now!!"
And that, my friends, is what Valentine's Day is all about!!