On Receiving

Over the years, Ben and I have been the recipients of remarkable gifts, grace, and kindness.

It’s overwhelming.  It’s humbling.

In 2001, when my husband was still healthy and working as a professor and professional musician, he experienced a tremendous loss when his instrument was stolen while he was teaching at a local university.  Several weeks later, our Care Group graciously surprised us with an offering they had taken and presented us with a piggy-bank filled with cash in the amount for a new custom trombone.

Eight years later, after undergoing numerous trials and health issues, our Church Group recognized that I was going through Caregiver Burnout.  Wisely, they also noted that Ben was experiencing “patient burnout,” if there is such a thing, and they unexpectedly presented us with a large check to be used for a small vacation for the two of us.

Then, two years later, as Ben sat in the hospital with electrodes in his brain, our pastor presented us with a substantial check to help us with our medical bills.  (Embarassingly, stress from the hospital visit later proved too much; I lost the check and had to humbly ask our pastor to re-write the check after I couldn’t find the “special” place I used to store it).

We have been the recipients of countless meals, gift cards, rides, help from friends…so much help.  It’s humbling.  It’s praise-worthy.

Our previous neighbor spent the past five springs mowing our lawn while Ben was either hospitalized or laid up from seizures.  This past weekend, I came home from a business trip to Chicago to find our NEW neighbor mowing our weed-strewn lawn.

Our “celebrity pastor” sent us a large check with a simple handwritten note from him and his family after Ben’s last hospitalization.  I can only guess that we are not the first recipients of his kind, humble grace.

We are thankful.  We are humbled.

Our families have given us thousands of dollars in cash, countless hours of childcare and help for our other needs and wants.  They have paid for airplane tickets, household appliances, private school tuition, and so much more than words can still express.

As I write this blog post, it’s more than ten years since that initial cash gift was presented to us in a ceramic doggy piggy-bank.  We accepted that money in tears, never expecting how great our needs would become and how our thankfulness would grow.

We are thankful.  We are humbled.

It is never a pleasant place to be the recipients of grace.  I grew up expecting that I would be the GIVER…the one making meals, writing checks in secret, and providing service to the needy.

Today, I am the needy.

My friend brought dinner tonight.  Tomorrow Ben will send an email to our large group of friends asking for rides to physical therapy, doctors’ appointments, and other household errands.  Howard is retired, but he gives up every Tuesday morning to serve our family and give Ben rides anywhere he needs.  Friends and acquaintances have held my hand as I’ve wept tears of grief and anger in countless late night calls and teary-eyed visits.

We are thankful.  We are humbled.

THANK YOU to our village.  Thank you to Don; to Ron and Linda, Beth and Kipp, Dara and Michael, David and Elise, Howard and Arlene, Craig and Kristina, Kinneth and family, Shelley and Don, Pam and Steve, Kim and Wes, Diane and Rob, Laura and Steve, Glenna, Harriet, Silvia, and all of the people at Covenant Life School and church who have helped us along the way.

THANK YOU to our families who have sacrificed so much for us and are there for us every step of the way.

We are thankful.  We are humbled.

God sees.

Romans 8:28:  And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

Or, as my family likes to say, “Everything always works out for the best!”:

 

 

– See more at: http://chosenfamilies.org/author/prosthetic-memory/page/2/#sthash.zgtnEo8x.dpuf

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