Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Charity

I've been trying for a few days to think of something noteworthy to blog about but alas, I have had nothing.  It's not really writer's block that's the problem, but a true case of "nothing is going on!"  I've literally been doing nothing these past few weeks.  I've looked at blogs, watched some TV, spray painted a small cabinet, colored with Sambo, read to the boys, and generally just sat around thinking about my life.  Sounds like a dream come true, right?  Not quite.  There have been a few projects I could be doing from the couch, but haven't.  There are books I could be reading, but haven't.  There are TV shows to get caught up on, but that hasn't happened either. 

You see, sitting around hoping my foot will heal has been incredibly awkward.  Although I regularly wish for a "day off," this is not quite what I imagined. 

Anyway, as I've given all this some serious thought, I've learned a few things.  And you want to know something odd?  I swear I've never been so full of pure joy.  I started taking Vitamin D, so maybe that's helping.  I re-prioritized my life, so maybe that's helping too.

Here's what I think is really happening -- and I have a feeling my comments will surprise you.  As mentioned, I am extremely uncomfortable not doing anything productive.  Plus, I'm extremely uncomfortable with people giving me service.  I'd rather run around nude than have to rely on others to do my business.  (Which is saying something because I'd NEVER willingly run around nude in public.) 

Those things combined, and now you've got several of my insecurities and anxieties in overdrive. 

OK.  So anxious to the max generally does not equal pure joy.  However, as I've sat here, more and more people have come to help.  It's been mind-blowing to see the sorts of friends that have helped with meals, rides, playdates, treats, concern, visits.  And then the number of hours my mom and G's parents have given to clean the house, yard, garage, and new shed.  Way too many hours to count.  You'd be shocked if you knew how much they've done around this house.  And I've been shocked to see how generously people serve.

Yesterday our ward did a "compassionate service day".  Our ward has numerous needs -- some of which are very serious, so everyone was asked to carefully consider how they could help someone in need that day.  I tried hard to think of something I could do at home.  Although the possibilities are endless, I felt an overwhelming feeling that I shouldn't do anything besides play with Sambo.  One friend even asked if I'd help her with her service project.  After giving it a week of thought/feeling extremely guilty, I turned her down, telling her I needed to continue focusing on myself.  Then I stewed about being so selfish for days.  Turning someone down is so not my old norm, but oh, I'm learning, and I am learning to to loooove it. 

Yesterday arrived.  I finally got around to watching the wonderful talk by President Monson about judging.  I thought deeply about that and determined to apply it to my life.  Then I showered, put my PJ's back on, and got out the playdough.  The "service day" was far from my mind.  Soon a knock came.  It was my mom, coming to help, un-announced.  I'm sure she didn't call first because she knew I'd tell her not to come.  After all, G's parents had left the day before and had cleaned the entire house top to bottom before they left.  So my mom got to work outside. 

Within minutes, another knock.  This time a lady in the ward, Jo.  We served in YW together a few years ago, but really haven't talked much since.  Such an unlikely visitor!  She's twice my age, so we have different circles of friends, but I've always really loved her.  She arrived with presents and lots of treats and told me she had seen me at church on crutches, and was interested in coming to help with housework.  I informed her that my house was clean and my mom and shown up 2 minutes before... so believe it or not, I didn't have any work for her!  (I was relieved because I would have been mortified to have her clean my house!)  Instead she made playdough creatures for Sambo and we talked.  To say it was wonderful would be a huge understatement.  She told stories that I needed to hear.  She cared and listened and then I remembered why I've always loved her. 

And then I went outside to see my mom had cleaned up the entire backyard! 

It wasn't until that night that it occurred to me that Jo had come because it was "compassionate service day."  It boggles my mind to think that of all the needs in the ward, she chose me.  We've got a child with cancer, families split by divorce, elderly, single moms, a death this week, lots of unemployment, depression, overworked moms and dads, too many new babies to count, sick pregnant women, people recovering from surgery, and then there's me and my gimpy foot.  At least that's the obvious "problem" I have. 

I'm not trying to brag about the wonderful parents, siblings, and friends I have.  Please don't take it that way.  I'm simply trying to convey how magical it is to be on the receiving end of charity.  It is so awkward for me.  Yet the refining that is happening within me has been profound.  Whatever end of charity you are on, embrace it.  I am learning that there is a time and a season for giving and receiving.  If it's your turn to give, then give with all your heart and listen carefully for the impressions that come about who needs your help and your friendship.  And if it's your turn to receive, enjoy it.  Not just because it's nice to be the recipient of clean bathrooms or a wonderful meal, but because it's so nice to feel the effects of the humility, graciousness, and knowledge that God knows you and knows all your problems -- that inevitably comes when being served.

2 comments:

Jordan said...

There's probably a million reasons why you started taking Vitamin D but I'm going to pretend it was because I encouraged you to take it as a soon to be medical professional.

You deserve to be served too occasionally. You do enough for all of us, it's now time to soak it up for yourself.

Myndi said...

We've needed a lot of service lately too. It is awkward and nice all at the same time for all of the reasons you stated.

I'm glad you took time out for yourself.