I have always “prided” myself in being “strong” but I have learned that there is a fine line between being a “strong” person and having a “cold or hardened” heart. I now realize this because I feel like in an attempt to protect myself, I have come really close to crossing that line. I was not in a good place for a very long time after my fate was handed to me on a “not so shiny platter”. I’ve found myself to be irritable and frustrated because I have lost control of everything and admittedly, I am a bit of a “control freak”. Although previously I loved to socialize and was very active, now I prefer to stay at home and communicate via email or any electronic means to prevent talking on the phone or face-to-face communication …sounds crazy, I know but I can’t explain it!!
That being said, I have simply been amazed & humbled by the outpouring of support from my friends. I know the busy lives they lead and they still insist on helping me. You see, I have always been extremely independent. I love doing things for others but when the table is turned, I almost feel ashamed to accept anything because I know that there is always someone out there who needs/deserves help more than me. I am actually a very private person. Yes, I know what you are thinking, “if she is so private, why is she blogging about all this stuff”. But it is true, I kept my illness fairly quiet for several months – only a small circle of friends, family, and co-workers knew. As word got out, I refused to accept offers of meals etc. from friends & my church family for several months after I became ill to the point that I was worried that I may be insulting them and that was definitely not my intention at all…it was just too hard to accept the fact that I needed help sometimes.
During this time, I received a card from someone who I did not know – she simply wanted me to know that she was praying for me and my family…this simple act of love absolutely “stopped me in my tracks”…I was literally stunned that this person actually took the time to write a note to me. I cannot express in words the impact that this first act of kindness from a stranger had on me. It was the first chip at the hard shell I had built to prevent everyone from knowing that I am vulnerable & scared to death of what the future holds for me and most important, my son and husband. By the way, I do not consider her a stranger anymore; she is my sister in Christ along with everyone who has reached out to me and my family whether it is by sending a note, saying a prayer for us, or simply sending positive thoughts our way…we feel the love and know that it is genuine. After all the beautiful words and acts of kindness, it still amazes me that people take time out to lift us up. One of my dearest friend’s mother has literally enlisted a “prayer army” I call them “Mrs. Alice’s prayer warriors” and they make sure that Blake, Trevor, and I know that we are loved and being prayed for daily. I have saved each and every note. My Sunday school class set up a meal schedule & started bringing food weekly & now I humbly accept it. My “awesome” neighbors spent a day on a long, very hot, holiday weekend working in our yard instead of spending a “fun” day with their family just so they could surprise Blake and I when we returned home & boy were we ever surprised! So many acts of love and kindness from people …too many to mention but each and every one impacted us and has helped to heal me emotionally without a doubt. I was given a beautiful “prayer wrap” that was hand knitted by a dear friend’s mother-in-law and I use it every day when I read my devotional. I recently received a “prayer quilt from a church that a friend of mine attends – for each knot tied on this quilt, a prayer was said for me…622 knots… 622 prayers…absolutely amazing!!
After this long road of “being strong”, I have learned that although “being strong” can be a good character trait, it does not mean that you are weak when you show your vulnerabilities. There are simply no words to express how humbling a simple “I am thinking of you” can be. For all the acts of kindness, I have realized that you must “let people in” so you can heal whether it be emotionally, spiritually, or physically. We all need to know how to accept love.
I truly believe that we are measured by the manner in which we deal with these tough trials and/or storms…we all fail from time to time but with time & experience, we become stronger and learn better ways to handle life’s trials. And this trial has taught me a good lesson indeed!!