Today was one of those days when the sweetness of life is served to you on a brilliant silver platter. It was an ordinary day in most respects, nothing that most people would look at and say "Hey, that was awesome!". But then again, our family has always been a little odd and needed far less to say "Awesome!" than some might need.
We have treasures in our life, and those treasures are friendships. I just was so struck with gratitude for the many wonderful, loving people who surround us, nurture us, care for us. We don't have much in the way of material wealth, but we have been blessed many times over with these treasures which are far more worthwhile than the latest gadget or trinket.
Our friendships span the gamut...old and young, liberal and conservative, farm types and city dwellers, internet and "real life". They give our lives texture and meaning, and I simply can not imagine my life without certain people in it. There are those who leave an emptiness behind when they exit our home, there are those who by day 3 without an email touching base leave me wondering what they are up to and worrying about them. It is so hard for me to go back in my mind to the time when friendships were not really a part of my life, where I had no idea really how to be a friend worthy of the friendship of others. I am so glad that somewhere along the way I grew up and made discoveries that changed who I am so that others would find me worthy of their time and care. I missed out on a lot of amazing people prior to that.
I can honestly say that the lessons came slowly, and they were God based. Whether or not you believe in the tenants of the Christian faith, the basics of learning how to live a Christian life are worthy of study. If you only view it as a moral code to follow, you will not go wrong. But there is a real joy in living a life in this fashion, to the best of your ability, and if you really embrace it, it is transformative. To put it simply, I am really happy and that was something I wasn't not that many years ago.
The past few days we have been trying to make some arrangements for Joshua and Matthew as we are not taking them with us when we go to Chicago for Kenny's surgery next week. One of the very hardest things I struggle with is asking for help. It is not something I do often, and it is uncomfortable, to say the least. I would much rather be in the position to be offering the help than to be the recipient of that help. I faltered a little in this situation, not wanting to ask anyone to be burdened with two active little boys and their activities and transportation needs. While I would never hesitate to step up and offer to take anyone's child or children in a moment of need, and in fact we have had a houseful on many occasions even for extended periods of time, it is somehow different when the shoe is on the other foot.
I am seeing how it is an important life lesson to take in as well...that receiving is just as important as giving.
In allowing others to help, it allows their love for you to be expressed. We deny others the wonderful feeling that comes with knowing you have helped someone if we don't allow ourselves to be cared for due to pride.
We are in that position right now, and we have so many who have offered to help! A place to stay for the week where you are told "Of course your kids will be staying with us, we love them and would worry if they were with anyone else! They belong with us!". Transportation to and from all their silly activities...soccer, TaeKwonDo, back and forth to school...all of it more than we ever would have thought to ask for. Offers of care packages to send with Kenny as his fears are understood and the desire to assuage them is there. I can not begin to express how my heart is filled this evening as I write this, knowing that when we leave, our children will be loved, will be safe, will be watched over carefully...for all three are our greatest gift in life and knowing they are surrounded by others who care for them allows us to focus on Kenny and his needs.
We spent a day in play today, with friends and family...but I hesitate to make a distinction between the two, for as I am learning, it is much the same. I read an email from a far away friend who has, from Day 1 felt like a next-door friend, and she is recovering from surgery leaving me feeling helpless to do much for her other than cheer her on and pray for her swift healing. We spent time with a newer friend who is already so dear to my heart and will be sorely missed when life takes her elsewhere. An email arrived from a head-and-heart friend whose friendship has grown largely due to our internet communications...little snippets and thoughts passed back and forth throughout the day...and she is ill and scared, and I am scared for her. I heard from a once-close-nearby friend with whom I share an unlikely yet deeply meaningful relationship with whose obvious intellect and insight are the results of careful life learning and not seen by the outside world as "educated enough", and boy is the outside world missing the boat on that one! And I hugged someone this evening who is a sister in a million ways with the exception of the way the law would recognize it.
Today was a day spent with treasures, and I am humbled at moments to think of the chest full of them that I have. For I certainly do not deserve these special gems, I have done nothing to earn them but I am forever filled with gratitude to be walking through life with so many amazing items in my treasure chest!!