Journal Entry #20
What a beautiful day! The sun was shining, the birds were singing, and the leaves are starting to emerge on the trees. Although I spent most of the day on the couch in the horizontal position, I had the pleasure of some amazing company today. Thank you to all who stopped in (Krista, Bev, Lisa and Bill), and to Carolyn who brought us an amazing chicken dinner with homemade rhubarb pie.
I’m on day 19 of taking the Miltefosine…I think. The days are all blending together, especially the last few all spent horizontal due to the nausea. There seems to be a direct relationship between gravity and the toilet. It’s all good though, at least I feel like I am doing something constructive on days like these – doing the RIFE for 5 hours a day requires a lot of downtime. And I have plenty of it these days. It is kind of weird though, you might think that I am binge watching Netflix or reading like crazy…but I basically just lay here all day in the quiet and visit when there are visitors and sleep when there aren’t.
My mom is busy doing the spring clean-up in our gardens and getting our outdoor planters ready to go. I always love this time of year and getting my hands in the dirt. It is such a grounding experience and I love the nurturing and oneness with earth. But not this year, at least not this Spring for me. Mom gets the satisfying job of raking and tilling the earth and preparing the vegetable garden. I’m thankful that she enjoys it too.
This afternoon I had a lovely surprise from Vicky, Karen, Daphne, Ingrid, Leanne, Marilyn (and Christine) who stopped in for a group visit and to give me a beautiful gift that they purchased together at the Silent Auction at the Greenbank Hall a couple of weeks ago. They presented me with “Juli’s Garden” a beautiful window done in mosaic glass, hand crafted by Linda Bradburn.
There are layers to this kind gesture.
Linda is in the midst of cancer treatments herself, and she took the time to craft something to donate to benefit my family. Talk about strength, talk about generosity, talk about servant leadership. Not only did she donate, but she also came to the event and had a burger with her Sista’. I actually have no words for what this means to me – it is bigger than gratitude, bigger than inspiring and fuller than admiration – and I will strive to follow her example. Perhaps paying it forward is the best way to say “thank you.”
Now, the other ladies all worked together to help set up, collect, distribute and run the Silent Auction. They spent more than 10 hours together that Saturday making sure that everything ran smoothly. I know these ladies well, so I am sure that it wasn’t any hardship to spend time with each other. Once their plan was in place to win “Juli’s Garden” for me, they placed their bids under an alias so that they didn’t give their plan away…and likely giggled the whole time! I love many things about these women, but I think the one layer that stands out for me today in what they did, was how wonderful things can be accomplished when we come together. Yes, women are powerful. Yes, women are compassionate. Yes, women are loving. And when we come together to do good in the world, there is virtually nothing that can stop us.
I think that is true of all people. Men. Women. Children. When we come together for a common goal or common need or common good, amazing things transpire. We all have strengths and we all have weaknesses, but when we come together as a team, we are a united front, each with gifts and talents to share, each a part of the bigger whole, each an integral and important part of the movement.
I was moved at the event at the Greenbank Hall. I had so many emotions all tangled up in the day…but I had a special moment with Isabella. Izzy is eleven, and has a huge heart. For her birthday this year, she asked for school supplies so that she could donate them to children and schools in Guatemala. She collected and donated 2 large hampers of supplies to our Mission Team to take to Guatemala. And then she volunteered her time on March Break to help sort and pack with our Mission Team and helped assemble 250 goody bags for children in Guatemala. Izzy always has a smile on her face, and always gives from her heart.
Did I mention that she is 11?
Anyway, Izzy and her mom came to the fundraiser, and Izzy gave me a homemade “get well” card and a hug. Then her mom leaned in and said that Izzy put her OWN money in the card to help with our medical expenses.
And sure enough, tied neatly with a purple ribbon was $50 inside the card.
I have a thing about taking money from children. I’ve been doing a lot of self-work to just say “thank you” these days, and to receive, but are we really so desperate that we need to be taking money from children?
No. And surprisingly, yes.
I won’t lie, I toyed with the idea of secretly handing the money back to mom to put in her education fund…that way Izzy will still THINK she did a good thing. I thought about simply handing the money back to her and explaining that as nice as the gesture is, I can’t in good conscious take money from a child. And then I remembered my lesson from just a few days ago – receive humbly and gracefully, recognize the gift of others giving love to you and just say “Thank You.” I gave Izzy a hug.
I was both a student and a teacher in that very moment.
It is important to teach our children to give and how to be a part of the village. In my acceptance of her gift, I was able to offer her the lesson of giving and the example of humble receivership. I hope I conveyed to her how special she is, and that her love is worthy of acceptance. I know how good it feels to give and I love that she is learning that too.
I also learned something from Izzy too. I was reminded that children are people too. Children are an important part of our village…and they can make great impact that we adults often neglect, forget or override. When we give them the environment to make an impact and have a voice, they are our biggest teachers. We don’t know it all. Even though we have life experience behind us and have been around the block a time or two, we don’t know it all. Izzy’s complete selflessness, to give her hard earned money, wrapped up in a thoughtful homemade card and purple ribbon was a stop-in-my-tracks moment for me. It brought tears to my eyes and filled my heart, overflowing.
These lessons were reinforced when Alex & Gavin donated their share of their hockey challenge to our family. When I saw kids helping with the BBQ, other children helping sell raffle tickets and when I heard of other children collecting bottles for the bottle drive, helping with set up and clean up. Again, I have no words…and I will strive to follow their example…and pay it forward.
I am blessed to be a student of these fine children.
So this is a shout out, to amazing kids AND a shout out to parents with big hearts that are raising children to have big hearts too. I know first-hand how difficult parenting can be, and how rewarding it can be…please know you are doing a great job teaching them about the village and not only how to be a part of it, but how to be leaders within it.
In deepest gratitude,