Wednesday, October 19, 2011

It's been two years?

Apparently so! Two years ago I said I would start blogging everyday. HA! Life has a funny way of getting in it's own way, doesn't it?

So much has been going on, so I will start by saying that the past few years have changed me a great deal. I have seen ordinary circumstances bring out amazing things in the people I love. I have seen more love and generosity in these couple of years than I think I ever have. Maybe it's the manifestation of what I try to live by, "To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived - that is to have succeeded." (Emerson)

I think this was made plain to me this weekend. Saturday was a super busy and painful day. My Dad has esophageal cancer and had appointments and treatments at Humtsman Cancer Hospital all day on Friday. Of course, Saturday morning, I was a hurtin' girl. But, up I was at 6:45 to pick up my Bountiful Basket! It has helped me stay on track for Weight Watchers having all those fruits and veggies in the house - not to mention how much money we save on groceries. I came home, prepped all the food (my head pounding the entire time). Lindi offerred to buy me breakfast (!) if I ran a few errands with her. We went to the pharmacy, a few other places, and then stopped by our local "Quickey-mart." As we were sitting in the parking lot, a woman tapped on my window. It was obvious she was in distress, but she was trying to hold it together. "I hate to ask, but do you have any money you can spare? I'm trying to get home and don't have enough for gas."

I look over and her truck is parked by the gas pump - loaded with things as if she's homeless. And as I look, instinctively, I reached in my pocket. Now, most people would tell me that she's using it for drugs, or booze or whatever. But somehow, I knew what it took for her to ask. Somehow, I knew she had to swallow a lot of pride to tap on my window. And it didn't matter to me. I pulled out my cash and handed it to her. "It's only 5 dollars, I hope this helps." She smiled at me as if I'd given her a million.

Then, to my left I heard, "I've got two more dollars coming, one sec," and Lindi handed me the bills she received as change. I handed the money to her and she grabbed my hand and said "God Bless you," and, in that moment, I've never believed anyone meant those words more. I watched her walk into the store, come back out, and add two gallons of gas to her tank.

As we drove home, I said to Lindi, "Thank you for helping me be a better person." She asked why I thought that. "Well," I explained, "some spouses would tell me not to give money to the homeless or the needy because they would throw it away on soemthing. Instead, when I feel the urge to help, you tell me 'Here's two more dollars.' I'm lucky to have you."

And it's true. I am lucky to have people around me who see that giving of self isn't about what you lose, it's what you gain.

For example, I was lucky enough to be part of Steph Chow's Jam Exchange. I asked for two partners and received partners from Oregon and Georgia. We sent one another two jars of our homemade jams, so I have four jars of BEAUTIFUL jam from two lovely ladies. I sent two of my best away to them, and also sent jam to Steph for being amazing and partnering us all up.

When Karen, my darling "sister-wife" from New York, told me she was having a bake sale to raise money for her mother's non-profit, of course, the first thing I thought was 'I'm going to send her some jam.' The next thought - what if everyone who participated in the Jam Exchange sent only one jar? Wouldn't that be cool, too?

Fingers flying, I sent an email to Steph, who in turn not only posted it on her blog, but sent jam to Karen as well! So far, Karen has received 36 bottles of jam - it was like a little support from all over the country. At $3 a piece, that's $100 for the Judith Parrotte Memorial Literacy Fund to help children and adults learn to read.

It's the little gifts that can mean the world to someone. To me, it's a jar of jam. I have many others. To Karen, it's hope. And you can never put a price on Hope. Or Generosity. Time after time, I am amazed.