One of the most wonderful parts about having cancer is seeing how people love me. I know that I am loved by many people...but I haven't always felt that love like I have over these past few months. In my most difficult moments, someone has always been there. I give the ultimate glory to God for prompting each person, each card, each gift, each meal, each phone call, each email...and I thank those individuals for listening to His voice and reaching out to me.
I have told you about some of the wonderful things people have done for my family and myself, but in case you didn't read it before, I'll recap some (and please forgive me if I forget!). A neighbor mowed our lawn. Several people cooked...I think we had meals for about 2 and a half weeks back in July when I had my surgeries. Someone took our trash to the dump. A young lady from church served as a live-in nanny/maid while I was in the hospital and even for a week after I got out. She also has come to babysit several times while I have gone to various appointments and will be coming again next week while I'm gone. She has done it all for free. Emails, letters, verses of encouragement, notes about my blogs, questions about how my kids are doing...these things are constantly coming my way just when I need to be reminded that God sees every fear, even my unspoken ones. One friend even brought her kids hours from home to stay with me for a week so that I could rest while she cooked, cleaned, prepared extra meals for the future (my freezer didn't know what to do with all that food in it!) and even gave some excellent cooking lessons to my daughter.
After a while, the flow of gifts slowed. I expected that. People have to get on with thier own lives...and so do I. Cancer or not, each day comes and has with it it's own responsibilities. And it's hard to keep being concerned when nothing seems to change. Some people even thought that I was completely out of danger after the surgery was over and were surprised to hear that I still had treatment to go through. It's been almost 4 months since my surgeries, and that's a long time to just wait.
But tonight I want to share with you two very special gifts that have been given recently. One came from my mom. Just out of nowhere, she bought me a beautiful purse.
The second gift came from my "daughter;" a young lady from our church that we unofficially adopted. She too has given me 2 things that show the depth of her love. First of all, she lent me her Nook Color to take to the hospital next week so that I will have something to do while I'm there other than watch endless cooking shows on cable. lol. She downloaded an ebook with 25 stories from various authors...several of my favorite classics, and some that I've never had the chance to read. She worked hard to save up for that Nook, and it was sweet of her to offer it. But the depth of her gift didn't hit me until the Sunday she brought it to church for me. Someone was asking about what I would expect while I was in isolation, and I was telling all of the odd requirements and restrictions I needed to follow. My daughter mentioned that I was taking the Nook, and he asked if it would have to be thrown away after I used it. Before I could assure him that it wouldn't, she spoke up. "If it does, that's ok. It's an acceptable sacrifice." It's just an electronic board, I know. But to me it's her long hours at work and the times she didn't go out to eat in order to buy that for herself...and now she gives it to me with no concern over whether she will get it back or not. I am overwhelmed. A few weeks before, we had missed 2 Sundays in a row at our church. It doesn't happen very often, and I was so glad to come back. My beautiful girl, a gift disguised as someone in need, comes to stand next to me durring worship. She has done this ever since I lost my voice. She never used to sing. I know...I was on stage and could see her. :-) I'm not saying she didn't worship, just that she didn't sing. But now she stands by my side and sings and sings and sings. The church gathered around me and my family to pray for us the Sunday after we were back from our 2 weeks away. When we were done, she held me so tight. I whispered, "thank you for being my voice." And with tears from the girl who is as tough as nails, who would scream and fight before she would cry, she said, "then you have to be here. You're the reason I sing." Such selflessness is blossoming in her! What a giving spirit, from someone who was taught to look out for herself, because she thought no one else would. To even overcome the negative spirit that kept her silent...such a gift will always be treasured. These are things I will carry with me all of my life. These are things that are of infinate worth. Not the cloth and plastic and paper or food that will waste away, but the love and kindness and prayers and selflessness that came with them. This is being loved.