Today I am grateful for those who have served me and our family.
I'm going to piggyback off of my post yesterday on my gratitude for my trials. For, as we experienced different trials in our lives, there were those standing beside us to help us and hold us up through those trials.
I learned how to serve others through the examples of my parents. Mom somehow knew when someone said "I'm fine" that there was something more going on. She spent so much time helping others to can or sew, helping with their children, or listening to them talk. And, being the mother she was, she didn't sugarcoat anything.
Not one thing.
Dad was the same way. He may not have had the instincts mom had, but he served when someone needed help moving a refrigerator, fixing a stove, putting on a roof, etc.
I had good teachers.
As an adult, I have been the recipient of caring hearts and hands through the trials mentioned yesterday.
When I've gone into labor, or had an operation, there were loving friends and family ready to help me in any way they could. Though I would prepare ahead with freezer meals, getting the house in order, and keeping on top of laundry, they came to fill in the gaps and give me some rest.
When my mom passed away, Kerry and I had just bought two bushels of pears to can. They were laying on newspapers in the basement waiting for a couple of more days of ripening.
Then, Mom died. The last thing on my mind was those pears.
Marva Rogers and the late Pat Shearer Hellman came to my house, loaded up those pears, along with canning jars and lids, and brought them back a day later ready to put on the shelf.
When son Peter was in a head-on collision, my life came to a grinding halt. I found out about it on the way to southern Ohio where I was to teach a class. The hospital called, and I turned around. I could remember no one's number, but called the one that popped into my head -- Carrousel Magic. Our friends owned it, and key people in my church worked there. The word went out, they contacted Kerry and other vital people.
When I arrived at the hospital, I had a crowd of people waiting to hold me up. Peter was not expected to live, and we were not facing this crisis alone.
He did live. And, was hospitalized in a touch and go situation for a month. People from my church went into action to help keep some normalcy in the lives of my other children. They picked them up from after-school activities, took them to piano lessons, and helped with meals.
Andrea Nelson Clark brought me a jar of homemade chicken noodle soup so I could get a break from hospital food. It was manna from heaven.
Cheryl Talaga somehow got into my house and left a tub of cabbage and noodles with chicken breasts. It was manna from heaven.
The late Gene Sampson never seemed to leave our side. I was at the hospital nearly every hour. I tried to sleep in an uncomfortable chair. Sometimes my neck would be stiff when my head fell over. I could feel someone gently propping me back up, and covering me with a blanket.
It was Gene. Sometimes I would open one eye just a little bit, sensing someone was standing beside me.
It was Gene.
A stranger consoled me. Each morning about 5:00 am, I returned from the hospital to get my children off to seminary and school, and to update the answering machine message. I did this so people could get a fresh update and not worry about calling and bothering us. I also listened to any message people left.
One morning, I was listening to them when a voice I didn't recognize came on. This tender, soft-spoken woman said that she didn't know who Peter was...if he was my husband or my brother or my son...but, she was going to pray for him and me that day. And, that if she knew who I was she would have brought me some collard greens with ham hocks and cornbread. But, she told me not to lose hope. She offered a prayer, said her goodbyes, and hung up.
She was exactly what I needed that day. God sent her to me when she misdialed a number.
When our two premie grandsons were born about 10 1/2 months apart, the Ronald McDonald House served our family, as well as the local restaurants who donated food to help out weary families. One of the babies was hospitalized the same time an Amish family was also staying night and day with their child. In came the Amish foods! We all had common fears, and common faith.
I truly learned to serve when I raised a family. It's all about giving and not always getting. But, today I am the recipient of their care and service to me and Kerry. Harmony R. Lauritzen has a benevolent heart, and makes sure I'm up-to-date on technology needs. She, along with Jordan C. Lauritzenand Erik Lauritzen have done a turnabout, for they are now looking out for us. They all call frequently to check on us.
Jordan and Erik were here the night we learned of Peter's death. I honestly don't know what we would have done without them. They helped us think straight when our minds wanted to do anything but think. And, in the middle of it all, Andrea Nelson Clark dropped by with a six-pack of Kleenex. Having lost a son herself, she knew the first thing that was needed.
And you, my genealogy and Facebook friends have served me in a way you may not realize. I have been inspired by the good things you say and do. Others, such as Thomas MacEntee and Lisa Alzo calmed my troubled heart when my computer decided to die just hours before the SoCal Genealogy Jamboree began. There was no fixing the old computer, so I had to buy a new one and set it up with little time to spare. They walked me through some technical glitches, and I made it with about 15 minutes to spare. I can add Cyndi Ingle to this list, too. She has walked me through several things through the years.
Others have given me answers they didn't have to give when I PM'd them. They took time with me, and time is a precious commodity.
I don't know that I have ever served as much as I have been served. There are kindnesses that still abound today. Linda Dawson Fiatoa has brought me beautiful piano-themed handmade items. Waunita Wharton has made things for my grandchildren. Countless friends, such as Karen Enck Keck have listened to me whine.
And, Mr. Kerry has served me like no other. He's had to do things that you never want to think about when you're holding hands and falling in love.
So, today I am grateful for the myriads of friends, neighbors, and family who have been there to anticipate our needs when we are in a crisis and hold us up. I could begin to list you all, but would run out of time and space if I tried.