Shouldering the weight
Today I went to Maren’s Thanksgiving Feast at her school. It is so great to be able to attend events like this. She loves it, I love it. The principal and the school secretary were in the cafeteria serving on the line, and the assistant principal was walking around taking pictures and joking with the kids about how they are going to be on dish duty (first graders are so gullible!) The school’s Thanksgiving Feast is a lovely display of service, community spirit, and, well, thanksgiving.
While I was there, another mom came up to me and introduced herself as a friend-of-a-friend, a fellow former gymnastics mom, and a blog reader. She wanted me to know that she and her family have been praying for me, that they would continue to pray for me, and she asked if there was anything she could do. I profusely thanked her for coming to say hello, because I love it when that happens. Real connection in the school cafeteria? Yes please! I wish everyone would blog so that I could experience the other side of this. She referenced the letter I wrote to my daughters, and tears sprang up in her eyes. It surprises me every time… I am shocked and awed that my words on this little blog have power. Upon seeing her tears, my own eyes immediately welled up. To get to see my impact in the eyes of a Stranger Friend is so powerful for me. As we are talking, I’m thinking, “I like this lady; we should be friends. Shoot, she’s praying for me, I want to be praying for her.” I love that the blog does what I’d originally hoped it would: it makes the facts and the logistics known so that we can get directly to the matters of the heart. The reason I began writing was so that I could process what was happening, but the reason I went public was for that cut-to-the-good-stuff short cut for my Real Life relationships. I scratch my head though, at you Stranger Friends who have linked arms with me.
I love it, don’t get me wrong, I just don’t have perspective for it.
My Real Life friend Sensi visited this week and I shared with her how I just cannot grasp what it is like to be on the other side — your side — of these words. I don’t really read other blogs regularly; I don’t have perspective about what it is like to be a reader of these words. I was trying to articulate just how humble I feel at the Friends and Stranger Friends alike who comment, and write, and give so generously of themselves. Sensi is overwhelming me (not in a bad way) wanting to mobilize a movement of support to get some big (BIG) things done for us and I’m pushing back saying, “No way Jose. I’m not special. People don’t need to do that for us–we can do it.”
After taking a deep breath and shaking her head that I might possibly really not understand, Sensi took another deep breath and a lengthy pause to find just the right words. She’s a wordsmith herself, so I knew that when her eyes filled with tears, she’d found what she wanted to say. She said, “I want to give to you because I get so much from your grief–daily, moment-to-moment, I think of you– and I feel a weight that I want to give back to you what I have taken.”
Oh. ::Cue the lighbulb.::
I feel a bit squirmy because I don’t want anyone to have a sense of obligation. And I work really hard at not being grief-stricken. However, this choice of words reminded me that my situation, my diagnosis, is devastating and weighty. And if I can shoulder my devastation and my weight, in part by writing about it here, then you can do it too–in your own way.
And then we are an army who will not be ruled by our grief.
And together, we march and pray, pray and march.
And mutually, we want to pay it forward. And that, my friends, is one of the very best compliments I’ve ever received. If my vulnerability here allows for you to me More Kind and More Generous and More Brave despite your own devastation and weight, then I’ve Done Today Well. I am, and you are, and He is victorious.
David said to the Philistine, “You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. –1 Samuel 17:45